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Young People Making a Difference

Whitfield’s sixth grade English curriculum is designed to support and guide students as they explore and develop their voices as readers and writers. Writing is approached as a cyclical process that evolves and strengthens throughout their time at Whitfield.

This winter, sixth graders are creating eBooks that highlight young agents of change who are making a difference in our world addressing topics such as climate change, racism, LGBTQ rights, gun control, and other global issues. Once published, the eBooks will serve as resources for students in their Cultural Competency book clubs that begin next month.

“Before the students began their eBook project, we talked about activism and what they think about when they hear the word activist,” said faculty member Samantha Alul. “They created a list of adult activists they know of and respect, then reflected upon whether or not an activist has to be an adult. We decided that we didn’t know enough about young people who are also making a difference as activists.”

For their eBook, each student chose a topic or issue they care about, conducted research, and identified at least three young people under the age of 18 who are raising awareness through their activism. They discovered young activists such as Dutch inventor Boyan Slat who at the age of 18 founded The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization, that is developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, and climate activist Greta Thunburg who at 16 years old delivered an address at the United Nations 2019 Climate Action Summit.

“I am focusing on the activism of students who survived the Parkland shooting [Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida]. People like David Hogg, who cares a lot about making a positive difference and stopping gun violence in schools,” said Zeke McMullen ’26.

Finley Wilkins ’26 is researching the rights of transgender people. “I am focusing on the laws and some recent changes in the legal protections for transgender people that have created struggles for them,” said Finley. “One of the activists I am focused on is Rebekah Bruesehoff who works to advocate for policy changes that protect and support transgender and all LGBTQ people.”

Once completed, each eBook will include a topic overview, profiles on selected activists, and a list of organizations and local volunteer opportunities that support the issue. Students will use Canva, a multimedia design platform, to publish their eBooks.