Banding together to make a difference; Student voices carry impact

It’s hard to avoid the difficult parts of life. Bad relationships, sudden death, school shootings, budget cuts. As teenagers growing up in the 21st century, we’re surrounded by things seemingly beyond our control. After all we’re “only kids”, what do we know about trying to change the way people think? But, we aren’t hopeless pawns to the world. With enough courage and intelligence, anything is possible.

According to Newsweek, following the deadly Florida school shooting last year, survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School demanded action and called for protests nationwide to pressure adult politicians to take action on gun control. Calling the protest, “A March for Our Lives”, these students raised attention nationally to a major issue facing our country. Kids from a single school, angry and driven  enough to change the way adults think, were able to involve teenagers across the country.

Within our own county, the unfortunate need to cut the school budget has led to the suggestion of removing some of North Harford’s most notable classes. Motivated students here at North Harford have been doing their part to raise awareness to an important issue. Following hearing the news that classes students wake up for could be cut, students in the visual and performing arts have been banning together to change the minds of those in decision making positions. These students held a meeting after school January 15 to discuss what students could to do gain attention to their cause; including attending Board of Education meetings and demonstrating just how much these classes mean to students.

You might be thinking that your parents are already planning on attending the meeting on your behalf, or that they’ve already written a letter. But, as helpful as it is to have an adult, it is not enough. Parents speaking at these important meetings does not have even close to the same impact as a student speaking. Parents are not in these classes everyday, learning how to use their voices or their paintbrush to bring out what is good in the world– students are.

The art department movement is not the first of its kind in Harford County. When the suggestion of shutting down the pools was introduced, swimmers from all over the county attended Board of Education meetings, and prepared speeches and letters on how important swimming was to them. In a similar situation were drama students when pay-to-participate for drama was introduced. Drama students from schools in Harford County were vocal about the detrimental impact such a charge would have on programs and people. So, if you’re questioning the ability of students to change minds; listen to the announcements– we still have a successful swim team, and ask a drama student–they don’t have to pay to be in the play. Speaking up for what they believed in really did make a difference, and you can do the same!

The same principle applies to all the aspects of our lives. If you’re frustrated with how much playing time you get on the field, how your significant other treats you, how easy it is to obtain a deadly weapon, or how your favorite class is being cut; be courageous enough to speak up. We may be young, but we are surrounded by significant problems and the only way anything is going to change is if we adjust the way we attack the problem.