Though many things were different this year, our 8th-grade students were able to complete their annual projects. In groups, students choose a topic critical to their local community and explore social advocacy to Change the World. As part of the project, students create a plan of action, including researching current legislation and heightening public awareness. The project culminates in a presentation for a panel of experts. This in-depth project combines Explorer West's core values and skills built during their time at Explorer West, including public speaking, research, media literacy, and more.
Topics chosen by the Class of 2021 include:
- Factory Farming
- The Use of Racist Words & Imagery
- Abolishing the Pink Tax
- Gender Pay Gap
- Abolishing Cash Bail & Racism
- Homeless Caused by Drug Addiction
- LGBTQ+ Homelessness
- Sexualization of Young Girls/Dress Code Inequalities
- Access to Mental Healthcare
- Human Trafficking
This week, Local leaders and experts joined Explorer West as panelists to listen to the students' presentations. They asked questions and offered suggestions to help the students think critically and dive deeper into their topics and action plans. Panelists included Representative Mia Gregersen, Representative Joe Fitzgibbon, Senator Joe Nguyen, and Representative Tomiko Santos, along with some additional legislative aides. Local experts included Nancy Ahern from the Washington Foundation for the Environment and Eric Eberhard, Explorer West Board President and Professor at the UW School of Law.
One group has been invited to present their project to the Washington State School Directors' Association as part of an initiative to create a statewide dress code. They will meet later this summer.
Congratulations, 8th Graders! Thank you for your dedication and hard work.
“My Change the World group and I met with a state senator and her assistant about our proposal for legislation that will make all schools in Washington State follow the same inclusive dress code. Next, we’re going to have a meeting with the state school board about it!”
“My Change the World group is proposing that we abolish cash bail in Washington. We haven’t gotten a response yet from any legislators but I’m still really proud of it because we worked really hard on it.”
8th grade Social Studies Teacher Tim "has been there to help us try and make our voices heard, and our hard work is paying off!"