Current Reports

Your bulletin of current news involving adolescents

Saturday, July 19, 2014 — High School Students Run Growing Company That Gives Back to Military Families.  ARLINGTON, VA: David Sturgeon is having a portrait taken with his sisters before he heads to Keesler Air Force Base - and 16-year-old Ellie Esher is behind the camera, thanks to "Patriot Portraits." The nonprofit provides discounted photography sessions for military families and pairs them with teenage photographers hoping to add to their professional portfolios. As a homeschooled student, Ellie said, "It's harder to get these opportunities, but Patriot Portraits gives that freely, so it's nice.” Abigail Hamilton, who co-founded Patriot Portraits with her friend and fellow T.C. Williams High School student Emma West, said she is grateful for the opportunity to help other young, talented photographers build up their professional experience. "There's so many young talented photographers out there, but hardly any of them get hired because of their age," she said. "We realized we could do something about that through our business.” The two students said they dreamed up the idea for the company as a project for school - and soon found themselves running a growing business. "We rely primarily on word of mouth, especially in the military community," Emma explained. "It's extremely tight-knit.” Each military family is given a 45-minute photography session for just $55. "To have the photos afterwards is a great memory of time we're here and he's not on the road," said client Emily Frandy. And of course, the teen photographers are happy too, and grateful for the opportunity to improve their photography and business skillets. "It's great experience," said T.C. Williams sophomore Isabella Lovain. "You're giving back to people that have served our country, and you're also getting more experience as a photographer," said Molly Brennan, 16.
For FULL STORY, go to:, 6/25/14


Sunday, July 13, 2014 — Silicon Valley's Talent Grab Spawns High-School Interns.  SILICON VALLEY, CA: Facebook Inc. (FB) rolled out the red carpet for Michael Sayman when the social network hired him for a job that started last month, including flying him out to meet Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg. Sayman, 17, brought his mom along on the trip. The position Facebook recruited him for: summer intern. “When I got the e-mail saying -- oh my god -- Mark Zuckerberg wants to meet you, I had to make sure nobody was playing a prank on me,” Sayman, who recently graduated from high school in Miami, said. Landing top talent is getting so tough in Silicon Valley that technology companies are trying anything for an edge -- including hiring interns out of high school and boosting new recruits’ perks. Facebook said it just started wooing interns before their freshman year of college, while LinkedIn Corp. opened its summer program to high schoolers two years ago. Startups including Airbnb Inc. have also nabbed interns as young as 16 years old. For the companies, it’s all about keeping up with Silicon Valley’s youth-oriented culture, especially as the young and technically inclined are sometimes encouraged to create their own startups instead of joining large organizations. The drive for youth is being spurred by more people getting into technology at a younger age. With online coding tutorials and Web communities for collaborating on software, high schoolers don’t have to get a computer science degree before producing their own mobile apps. Many find their way to events such as hackathons and contests to find bugs in software, which attract whoever has the skills to compete. James Anderson got his internship at Web startup Planet Argon LLC last year through just this route. At age 13, he went to a conference focused on the Ruby on Rails programming language and met Planet Argon’s founders on a company hike. He asked for -- and got -- a summer internship before starting high school. “I felt like age shouldn’t hold me back as long as I can code,” said Anderson, now 15 and a soon-to-be sophomore at Flintridge Preparatory School in La Cañada, CA, who taught himself several programming languages and built apps based on online tutorials. Facebook found Sayman last year because the teen was using the social network’s Parse developer tools to build a mobile game called 4Snaps. The game has more than 500,000 players. Sayman taught himself to make mobile apps at 13, partly to help his parents pay the bills after a foreclosure four years ago. “He was the one paying for everything in the house, at 13, 14, 15,” his mother said. As downloads of 4Snaps climbed last year -- at one point becoming the top word game in Apple’s App Store -- Facebook’s Parse team contacted Sayman to feature the app on the company blog. They also asked him to make a video explaining how the app was built. The video, which Sayman made in his pajamas, was shown to Facebook’s entire staff. It got the attention of the intern recruiter, who told the teen about the summer program.
For FULL STORY, go to: Bloomberg News, 7/8/14


Friday, July 11, 2014 — Philly Students Ban the Word “Redskins” from High School Newspaper.  PHILADELPHIA, PA: Students at a Philadelphia-area high school are being punished for not using the word “redskin.” Like the Washington, D.C., NFL team that just lost its trademark, Neshaminy High School has as its mascot a brown man's face wearing a headdress—and the mascot is called "Redskin," a term that is offensive to Native Americans. When the editors at the school's newspaper decided last October that they would omit the derogatory term from their publication, faculty at the Langhorne, Pa., school didn't have a problem with that move—as long as they continued to use the word in editorials and letters to the editor. Alumni and board members ruled in June that students could leave the term out of strictly-news stories, according to All Digitocracy. School board member Steve Pirritano says that students published the June 14 newspaper—with the ethnic slur omitted throughout the publication—without authorization. Principal Rob McGee confiscated copies of the newspaper, and the student editors faced backlash from school officials. Students were threatened with funding cuts and even suggestions that the editors be criminally charged. Editor Reed Hennessy, a 17-year-old rising senior, said that the controversial policy passed by the school board last month stripped student editors of their First Amendment rights. Reed said during a Google Hangout earlier this week that instead of adhering to the school's new policy, the editors would not recognize it because it violates state and federal student press laws. Since the controversy began, the editors have been locked out of the newspaper's email and social media accounts, according to All Digitocracy. They are also now required to submit articles for administrative review 10 days before publication instead of the three days they were allowed. Despite the school's efforts to restrict the students' editorial duties, other newspapers in Pennsylvania, including the Philadelphia Daily News, have also banned the term. Even with the board's final decision to take over the editorial process, Editor-in-Chief Gillian McGoldrick, 17, is still optimistic about the students' position. "We're all strong-willed enough that we want to keep fighting," she told the Philadelphia Daily News.
For FULL STORY, go to: The Root, 7/10/2014


Sunday, July 06, 2014 — Students Solve Medical Mystery, Diagnosing Mock Outbreak of Disease.  MIAMI, FL: Last Friday, 50 high school students from around the nation participated in a 9-day summer program at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. They found themselves in the middle of a mock outbreak of an infectious disease. The exercise was intended to simulate the process doctors go through to solve a medical mystery and reach a diagnosis — similar to what we see on the hit TV show House. “The goal of the campus visit is to help students test their interest in medicine, better understand the demands of the profession, and explore career options within medicine,” said Robert Hernandez, M.D., dean at the College of Medicine. The students involved are all a part of the National Youth Leadership Forum: Careers in Medicine. Jonathan Kaptansky, at age 17 an aspiring cardiologist, enjoyed the mock outbreak: “It’s kind of like a puzzle. Figuring out the right pieces to figure out what is happening, is very interesting.” During the interactive event, students participating gathered in teams of four and had to find clues to the outbreak by rotating through several stations where they interview a mock patient, experience a simulated medical emergency, review autopsy results at a mock medical examiner lab, go over victims’ x-rays and lab results. Students also visited FIU’s Mobile Health Center before presenting their findings and recommendations. Led by current medical students from FIU they try to find the source of the mystery illness. At the end of the day, the four teams presented their findings and recommendations including what they think is causing the outbreak. The students also discussed how to best educate the public about how to treat and prevent the illness. The team that scored the highest was compensated with a small award. “Developing pipeline programs such as the one in critical to FIU HWCOM’s mission of recruiting the best and brightest individuals to pursue careers in medicine and to train and practice in South Florida,” Hernandez said. “Hopefully the participants will come away from the exercise with a better understanding of the challenges and rewards physicians experience in serving their patients and the community."
For FULL STORY, go to: the Miami Times, 7/3/14


Thursday, June 19, 2014 — High School Students Attend Boot Camp to Fight Cyber Crime.  SAN DIEGO, CA: Some of San Diego’s most computer-savvy high school students are learning how to hack a network in order to prepare themselves for a career in cyber security. Two dozen students from three local high schools are spending this week at Cyber Boot Camp in the San Diego offices of ESET, an international computer security company. “We are learning how to hack, but hacking in a good way,” said Chloe Crisostomo, a junior at Mira Mesa High. “In order to learn how to secure, we have to learn how to hack.” In one session on Thursday, students heard such terms as “decoys,” “replay attack,” “cloning,” and “USB port attack” as Cameron Camp, a security researcher at ESET, held up examples of devices used to attack networks. “You have to understand the network in order to know how to break it,” Camp told the students, adding a warning that, “All your targets are not what they seem.” The students participating are from Canyon Crest Academy, Westview High School and Mira Mesa High School, the top three teams in the Mayor’s Cyber Cup earlier this year. The boot camp is sponsored by the Securing Our eCity Foundation, which funds cyber-security programs to raise awareness among businesses, families, youth and seniors. Liz Fraumann, executive director of the foundation, said the camp is designed to convey the excitement of cyber security. In addition to hands-on training, students hear from law-enforcement officials and top researchers about this growing challenge. As a result, she said, students learn “you don’t just have to sit behind a keyboard to be a cyber professional.” Cyber crime is on the rise nationally, and has led to a surge in demand for skilled professionals. The number of jobs in San Diego is expected to grow by 13 percent this year. Fraumann said the foundation hopes the boot camp will lead to internships for the participating students in coming years.
For FULL STORY, go to: Times of San Diego, 6/18/2014


Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — Students Counter Anti-Immigration Flyer with Positivity.  BRAMPTON, CANADA: When Sonali Prasad first saw the anti-immigration flyer singling out Sikhs in Brampton, she was in disbelief before the annoyance and anger sunk in. Born and raised in Canada, the 17-year-old girl is of Fijian heritage, but like other students at Brampton’s Louise Arbour Secondary School, she felt the flyer was an attack on all children of immigrants in their city and the rest of the country. However, instead of using hate against hate, Prasad and her classmates have chosen to respond by creating and distributing their own flyers, telling the world who today’s Bramptonians are and what Brampton really stands for. The school’s flyer resembles the one delivered by Immigration Watch in Brampton last month, which depicted angry protesting Sikhs (a photo actually taken in India) and asked the question: “Is This Really What You Want?” But Prasad said it was by no means an attempt to mock the Vancouver-based group. “The reality is, the original flyer has misrepresented our experience in our day-to-day lives in Brampton,” Prasad said. “Anybody could respond to hate with hate, and ignorance to ignorance. We want to go with an open mind and just give people the truth. That’s the difference.” In their redesigned flyer, the angry Sikh photo at the bottom is replaced by a photo of Prasad’s class in the course Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, behind the silhouette of five letters: “U-N-I-T-Y.” It also says: “YES, THIS IS WHAT WE REALLY WANT.” “To be honest, there are a lot of Indians in Brampton,” said Saranjit Dhindsa, 16, whose family is Sikh and came to Brampton from Calgary in 2007. “But we are not angry, violent people. We co-exist peacefully with people from all backgrounds. Our message is, immigration is a good thing no matter where you go in Canada.” The class quickly decided to do something to counter the “false image” of Brampton and put together a “photo that represents us” in a flyer with a personal letter attached to its back. On Friday, the class launched its campaign by posting the flyer on Twitter and Facebook, under #ConsiderThisBrampton. With funding from the school council, the students have ordered 1,000 copies of the flyers that they plan to hand out across Brampton next Saturday. “We need to accept that things are changing and the face of Brampton is changing, but our values have not changed,” the students wrote in their letter attached to the flyer. “The flower of our city has blossomed in new and different colours, but the roots have not changed.” When asked what “values” were being referred to, Prasad said: “It’s the value to be good people.”
For FULL STORY, go to: the Toronto Star, 5/23/2014


Thursday, June 12, 2014 — High School Students Put Together Exhibit on Brooklyn's Sugar Industry History.  BROOKLYN, NY: With the cathedral to the Brooklyn sugar industry, the Domino plant, set to be torn down and replaced by condos, the rich, bittersweet history of the borough formerly known as America's Sugar Capital is on display at the Brooklyn Historical Society. With photos, uniforms and descriptions of the working conditions, the exhibit answers many of the questions raised by the popular Kara Walker art exhibit on display a few miles away in the actual Domino plant. What makes the Historical Society exhibit unusual and remarkable is who made all of the decisions, from which artifacts to include to what the title should be to even the color of the background wall. A group of high school students was behind it all. "It's a museum studies after-school program," said Emily Potter-Ndiaye, director of education at the Brooklyn Historical Society. "So the students come in and learn all of the aspects of curating a history-based exhibit, with our education department, our library staff, professional graphic designers, exhibit designers, installers, the works.” The nine students, all who happen to be girls, come from a mix of high schools in the area, both public and private. "We've all became friends in the process, and it's been really nice to meet people from different schools, too, which is sometimes hard to do," said Ella Dyett, a 10th grader at Packer Collegiate. For months, they've met at the museum to work on the exhibit. "They absolutely make the choices. Sometimes they make choices we wouldn't make," said Deborah Schwartz, president of the Brooklyn Historical Society. "Part of the idea is to help them be rational about the choices they make. How are they telling a story, how do objects tell stories. These are things that are very different from classroom learning.” The exhibit will be up for six months. "If you have the will and the drive to do this, and the resources, you can accomplish this thing that seems kind of far-fetched for 11th graders," said Monika Zaboklicki, an 11th grader at Brooklyn Tech.
For FULL STORY, go to:, 6/11/2014


Friday, June 06, 2014 — New Orleans High School Students Traveling to Jordan for Climate Change Project.  NEW ORLEANS, LA: Eight students from New Orleans Charter Math and Science High and Lusher High sit around a table surrounded by posters illustrating the water cycle and southeastern Louisiana land loss. They talk slowly, seriously and very politely. "What do you notice most in daily life is an effect of climate change, and what do you do to accommodate it? Thank you," Camille Chenevert, 16, said to a web video camera. At 8 a.m. on their first day of summer vacation, these students had gathered at Sci High to videoconference with a roomful of teenagers 6,800 miles away in Jordan. This month, they will meet their counterparts in Amman thanks to the Global Nomads Group, funded in part by the U.S. State Department. The New Orleans students had to pass several rounds of applications with Denlinger and Lusher teacher Dawson McCall to qualify for the program. In Jordan, they will identify a climate change problem and design technology to address it. Between monthly videoconference sessions, all the students had spent hours collecting data about their local ecosystems and analyzing the overuse of resources at their schools. For example, Reiss Weil, 15, found that Sci High's interactive whiteboards came packaged in a lot of extra material. Over the video, the students noted the diametrical difference of their cities' problems. In Amman, there's not enough water. In New Orleans, the Sci High and Lusher students shivered in the damp air conditioning as thunder boomed outside. They also found a shared frustration: It's hard to get people to care about the environment. "I think you will see that people are not aware of such things when you come here. Thank you," said a Jordanian boy, ending with the cue to the video facilitator that he was finished speaking. "Honestly, students just tend to throw away trash" in whatever receptacle's convenient, Reiss said. "They wouldn't branch out to look for a recycling bin. Which is sad, but, yeah. Thank you.” Science aside, the New Orleans students readily admitted they were the most interested in the opportunity to meet their far-away peers. They were eager to get beyond the halting, on-screen, supervised conversations with the waves of failed comprehension, both from their different languages -- the Jordanian students answered in swift, fluty English -- and their different experiences. Take Reiss' observation about excessive packaging. The Global Nomads facilitator ascertained that the Jordan students didn't know what interactive smartboards were. Haley Smith 17, of Sci High, found herself struggling to explain something that to her was entirely commonplace. But the New Orleans students were confident that frictions would rub away in person. In fact, Haley said after the computer was turned off, "It's hard not to talk with them about cultural things." Helene Lovett, 17, said she'd befriended one girl on Facebook and been chatting about life.
For FULL STORY, go to: the Times-Picayune, 6/6/2014


Wednesday, June 04, 2014 — Inspired by Students, Principal Comes Out as Gay at School’s Pride Day.  WASHINGTON, DC: Wilson High School Principal Pete Cahall came out to his students as gay at a school-wide Pride Day event Wednesday, shaking as he said that he had “hid in the shadows for the last 50 years” but was inspired by his students to declare his sexual orientation openly. “I want to say publicly for the first time because of your leadership, care and support that I am a proud gay man who just happens to be the principal of Wilson High School,” he said in the packed atrium at the D.C. school, flanked by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and David Catania (I), the D.C. Council’s first openly gay member. The second annual lunchtime festival brought together more than 20 community organizations and government agencies that offer support and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Last year, students signed pledges to respect their LGBTQ colleagues. Students greeted Cahall’s announcement Wednesday with a loud, long cheer. “I feel really proud of him, even though obviously he’s an adult,” said Marla Solow, 16, a junior who helped organize the Pride event. “I teared up … if it inspires other people to come out, that’s great.” “I have so much respect for him to be able to do that,” said Tao Marwell, a 17-year-old senior who said she identifies as queer. “It’s a very brave thing to do.” Gray congratulated Cahall for “going public with who he is” and encouraged students to feel comfortable doing the same. “There is nothing worse than walking around having to hide who you are,” Gray said. Catania, who came out as gay when he was 20, said he knew the “silent, quiet, isolating sense of desperation” of living in the closet, and said Cahall’s announcement sent a message not just about acceptance and courage, but also about honesty and integrity. “I think this is the most important lesson that these students will learn this year,” he said. Students hugged Cahall after his announcement, and he said he felt relief, “like a ton of bricks lifted.” “I’ve hid all my life,” Cahall said. “In this community, with these kids, I’d be a big hypocrite if I didn’t speak my truth.”
For FULL STORY, go to: The Washington Post, 6/4/2014


Thursday, May 29, 2014 — Technical High School Students Detail Energy Use.  NEW BRITAIN, CT: Students in five Connecticut technical high schools are set to present findings and recommendations from a year-long investigation of the environmental impact of their school’s energy use. The Connecticut Clean Trades Summit is set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at Central Connecticut State University. The program introduces construction trade students to careers in the energy industry and the opportunity to make their schools greener. Participating schools are Norwich, Ella T. Grasso school in Groton, E.C. Goodwin in New Britain, Platt in Milford and Henry Abbott school in Danbury. During the 2013-2014 school year, teams of 40 to 50 students from each school researched how their school uses energy, assessed water and environmental quality and evaluated recycling efforts. Students proposed energy-saving solutions that will be presented at the meeting.
For FULL STORY, go to: the Associated Press, 5/29/14


Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — Human Rights Video Content Yields Compelling Results for High School Students.  SKANEATELES, NY: Almost the minute that the new multimedia lab opened at Skaneateles High School, students in Kate Hardy’s English classes were using the sophisticated video equipment and sitting down to edit at the state-of-the-art computers. The special lab was made possible through a grant called Zooming In, Zooming Ahead, funded by the Skaneateles Education Foundation. Recently, 32 of the 10th-graders found out they received Gold and Silver honorable mentions in a national contest that is sponsored by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and based on Kerry Kennedy’s book, "Speak Truth To Power.” The Speak Truth to Power student video competition encourages middle and high school students to become engaged in human rights issues. Hardy asked all of her 10th-grade English classes, both Regents and honors, to complete the challenging project, which compelled them to research, discuss and do some deep thinking on topics related to human rights. “We had to create a project defending a right,” Aubreah Lynn said. “Then we had to choose and research a person who is a defender of that right.” After writing individual research papers, the students got together in groups of two, three or four to create movies. Lynn’s group focused on poverty. Katelyn Ellison’s group focused on genocide. Jordan Daley and Lauren Goodchild were in a group that focused on bullying, interviewing students and staff. “We started by writing words (stereotypes) on our faces … and in the end we wiped the words off our faces," Daley said. Hardy said 99 students in all of her 10th-grade English classes worked in groups to create just more than 30 films. “This is the first year Skaneateles has participated in the Speak Truth to Power curriculum and film contest," she said. "I am thrilled with 10 videos receiving recognition by the Human Rights Curriculum and celebrity judge panel.” The classes started with a close study of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Students then individually chose one human rights defender, as deemed by the RFK Center for Human Rights, to focus on. After compiling and writing an argumentative research paper, they worked in small groups to create a documentary about several defenders who work toward solving similar human rights issues. Go to for past winning films. The winning film in the most recent contest will be screened at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Speak Truth to Power is a project of the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Center for Justice and Human Rights.
For FULL STORY, go to: the Auburn Citizen, 5/24/15


Wednesday, May 21, 2014 — Students Use Humor to Create Engaging Sustainability Video.  PALO ALTO, CA: Normally teachers are the ones educating students. But in “Conserving Energy For Dummies Teachers,” four Palo Alto High School students from Margo Wixsom’s beginning photography class seized the opportunity to turn that relationship on its head. Daniella and Elena, freshmen, and Nikhil and Ronak, sophomores, teamed up to explore energy conservation through artistic avenues. They collaborated with one another to write a script, act out scenes and produce an entertaining — yet educational — video. After consulting Rebecca Navarro, Palo Alto Unified School District’s energy specialist, the group incorporated several energy savings statistics. Then they figured out compelling ways to convey those facts. “You see with videos they show you in science class like ‘Bill Nye The Science Guy,’ the reason why everyone loves him is because he’s so quirky and it’s funny to watch,” Nikhil said. From catching a teacher eating his lunch in front of an open refrigerator to probing a coach who forgot to cover the swimming pool, the group devised humorous situations to deliver important messages about sustainability. Teachers star in the video, but fellow students are the target audience. “I think that’s a good thing we’re doing because kids won’t listen otherwise,” Daniella said. “It’s just a matter of turning off the faucet, turning off the lights, and it’s just such a quick thing to do.” The group put a lot of time and energy into the project, often meeting during lunch and before and after school. Wixsom has encouraged the group to enter the video in the 2015 Greenlight Film and Fashion Festival as well as next year’s California Student Media Festival. “Environmental education is an essential part of core information that students need to be well-informed and critical-thinking adults,” Wixsom said. “Photography and art are such solid connections for this type of exploration.”
For FULL STORY, go to: the Peninsula Press, 5/21/14


Thursday, May 15, 2014 — Girl Carries Twin Sister Across Track Meet Finish Line.  CHICAGO, IL: Chloe and Claire Gruenke, both 13 years old, are close. The West-Clin Middle School twins spent the weekend competing at the Southern Illinois State track meet. They were both running the 800 when all of a sudden Chloe was having trouble. “I felt something pull and pop in my thigh and then around the second lap it hurt and I couldn’t go anymore and I fell to the ground,” Chloe said. Then something really cool happened. Claire put her sister on her back and they finished the race together. Claire carried Chloe for 370 of the 400 meters left in the race. She says what she did for her twin means more than just winning. “It’s about showing compassion, love and sportsmanship, even if you lose and help somebody it`s still worth it. The energy from the crowd made me stronger. They were saying I can`t believe you just did that,” Claire explained. The twins’ parents Doug and Georgia Gruenke say they say we can all learn from what happened. “It was pretty neat everyone in the crowd was standing up giving a standing ovation,” Doug said. “I just wanted both of them to make it through,” Georgia said. Coaches Ted Crail and Coree Woltering are also proud of the twins and their team spirit. “We just watched breathlessly and luckily had glasses on because we all had tears in our eyes,” Crail said. “I have to admit it was pretty emotional,” Woltering said. Chloe and Claire may have come in last in the 800 meter race, but the duo clearly won the hearts of everyone who watched a special moment play out between two loving sisters on the field. “Never leave them behind as long as you help them your heart just warms up,” Claire said.
For FULL STORY, go to:, 5/13/14


Monday, May 12, 2014 — High School Students Under Attack for Vaccine Documentary.  CARLSBAD, CA: A high-school film club has made films centered on emotional, wrenching subjects before, including the Holocaust and food insecurity in the US. But nothing, not even reaction from white supremacists to their Holocaust film, prepared them for what would happen when they made a film about vaccines. Their documentary, “Invisible Threat,” addresses the subject of vaccine refusal and the repercussions that can follow. According to the student filmmakers, the genesis of the documentary was their initial decision to make a short peer-to-peer film about how the immune system works. They became aware of the controversies around vaccines and turned their attention to the effects vaccine refusal can have on public health. The film, begun a few years ago, is now complete. Students created the documentary along with their broadcast journalism teacher and with Lisa Posard, who produced the students’ previous documentaries on the Holocaust and food insecurity. The films have received widespread attention and good reviews from those on the front lines of public health. Yet that hasn’t stopped groups who voice vaccine opposition from waging a campaign against these students. These groups, primarily associated by their insistence on a vaccine-autism link, allege that the students’ teacher has “joined forces with a vaccine industry front group.” Camille Posard, student filmmaker and Lisa Posard’s daughter, wrote: "We hadn’t even started filming, yet the blogs prompted hundreds of ugly comments and calls. Yes, the anti-vaccine bloggers were harshly criticizing high school students doing an after school project sponsored by an unrestricted local Rotary grant… The adult supervisors at CHSTV Films pulled the plug on the project, citing a concern for us teens after all the angry comments flooded in. They had no idea that this topic was so explosive. Due to the success of our previous films, we had other projects being pitched to us and the adults felt it best to avoid this headache." In the end, they didn’t back down, in part at the students’ urging. Just as making their film was a “real-world” experience for them, standing their ground against intimidation and alleged threats is about as real-world as it gets… payback no high school student deserves for engaging in fruitful, useful extracurricular projects.
For FULL STORY, go to:, 5/12/14


Thursday, May 08, 2014 — Youths Sue U.S. Government Over Climate Inaction.  WASHINGTON, DC: Young people across the country are suing several government agencies for failing to develop a climate change recovery plan, conduct that amounts to a violation of their constitutional rights, says their lawyer Julia Olson. Their futures are at stake, say the young plaintiffs. “Climate change is the biggest issue of our time,” said 13-year-old Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, a member of nonprofit Kids vs. Global Warming, a plaintiff in the suit. “It’s not every day you see young people getting involved politically, but the climate crisis is changing all that. Every generation from here on out is going to be affected by climate change,” added Roske-Martinez, who founded environmental nonprofit Earth Guardians and organized successful actions in his hometown of Boulder, Colorado. The federal suit, which has made its way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is part of a groundbreaking nationwide legal campaign spearheaded by youth and backed by some of the world’s leading climate scientists and legal scholars. The case, filed by five teenagers and two nonprofits — WildEarth Guardians and Kids vs. Global Warming — representing thousands more youth, relies on the public trust doctrine, which requires government to protect resources essential to the survival of all generations. “With the United States as the largest historic emitter of carbon dioxide, the atmospheric resource cannot be restored without government action,” Olson told Al Jazeera. Supported by more than 30 environmental and constitutional professors, the young plaintiffs name six federal agencies in their suit — the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Defense departments. “The welfare of youth is directly affected by the failure of government to confront human-made climate change, and unless the government acts immediately to rapidly reduce carbon emissions ... youth will face irrevocable harm: the collapse of natural resource systems and a largely uninhabitable nation,” reads the complaint. In addition to the federal suit, actions were filed in all 50 states, with help from Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit that supports young people through legal efforts. The scale of the campaign is unprecedented, according to law professor Mary Wood, faculty director at the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at the University of Oregon. “Never before in the history of our laws have we seen a coordinated set of legal actions on this scale,” she said. The monumental campaign matches the magnitude of the problem, supporters say.
For FULL STORY, go to:, 5/4/14


Wednesday, May 07, 2014 — East Hartford High School Students’ Snow Removal Invention.  HARTFORD, CT: A group of 18 East Hartford High School freshmen may have found a good way to clear snow from the tops of 18-wheelers. They developed what they call “Snow Belt,” which is basically a solar-powered conveyor belt on top of a truck which moves snow and ice off the back, rolls back up, and then re-stows between the cab and trailer. Snow Belt is still very much a work in progress, but the Motor Transport Association Of Connecticut likes the direction the concept is going in. “Most of the trucks will spend the night in a snow storm, out in a remote area, this kind of an idea could have application,” Mike Riley, the association president, said. The students are already looking forward to next winter to tighten up their Snow Belt components. “We’re going to find out what happens when the snow comes, how is it working when we slide everything off, does it really come off, what material do we have to use?,” Akwasi Wiredu wondered. The students will present their Snow Belt project at the Student Innovation Expo at the State Armory in Hartford May 17.
For FULL STORY, go to:, 5/6/14


Monday, May 05, 2014 — Princeton Prize Honors 25 High School Students for Encouraging Racial Harmony, Respect.  PRINCETON, NJ: Twenty-five high school students from around the United States have been named recipients of the 2014 Princeton Prize in Race Relations. The students were honored April 25-26 during the seventh Princeton Prize Symposium on Race held on the Princeton University campus. The University created the prize to identify and commend young people working to increase understanding and mutual respect among all races. During an Alumni and Community Day program, the students participated in activities including group discussions with alumni, parents and other guests that were facilitated by Omar Wasow, an assistant professor of politics. The Princeton Prize carries cash awards up to $1,000 for students in grades 9-12 at schools around the country. The 2014 winners include Boya Zhou, a junior at Boston Latin School, who took a leadership role in identifying racial bias in disciplinary practices in the Boston Public Schools; Quinn Buchwald, a Native American senior, is founder and president of the Native American Student Council at Garfield High School in Seattle (the council promotes the understanding of and respect for tribal people through school-based and community activities); Brenda Perez, a senior at School Without Walls in Washington DC, who is a lead student organizer with SMART (Student Multiethnic Action Research Team), a youth-led decision-making body that organizes and advocates to reduce education disparities facing English Language Learner students and their families; and Adam Petno, a junior at Green Farms Academy in Connecticut, who uses his musical talents to create bridges across the divides of racial, cultural and social differences. He and his twin brother founded Studying Music and Rhythm Together (SMART), which organizes volunteers to mentor young musicians from low-income families.
For FULL STORY, go to: Princeton University, 4/30/14


Wednesday, April 30, 2014 — Michigan Students Spend Spring Break Walking 80 Miles To State Capitol To End School Pushout.  DETROIT, MI: On April 21, a group of Michigan youth began walking from Detroit to Lansing to bring attention to the alarming number of unjust suspensions and expulsions in Michigan. Their three-day journey ended on April 23, on the steps of the state capitol building, where students impacted by excessive school discipline practices and advocates working to reform state laws gave testimonies of their experiences in a zero tolerance school environment. Suspension from school greatly increases the likelihood of expulsion and expulsion threatens a student’s ability to ever graduate and move on to college or a career. “It sounds extreme,” said Michael Reynolds, YOUTH VOICE co-president. “But when I talk to my peers, many who share my experience, students all over Michigan are being pushed out of school without alternatives.” When Michael was suspended from school for “horse play” he was asked to leave school grounds. On his way home, he was given a $600 truancy ticket from a police officer and missed an additional two days for court. Other cases students report being suspended are for uniform violations, not having an identification card, and insubordination. YOUTH VOICE, a project of Harriet Tubman Center, is partnering with organizations statewide national to organize the 80-mile walk from Detroit to Lansing to symbolize solidarity in the belief that all youth deserve a right to an education. One of the organizations is Dignity in Schools Campaign, which is working nationally to end school push out. Said one student YOUTH VOICE member, "It’s frustrating for students to get suspended, and not have a voice to express their side of the story. But I’m not here today to complain. I’m here to acknowledge that there are solutions.…modify zero tolerance. Also, get conflict resolution training such as restorative practices in Michigan schools so that we have alternatives to suspensions and expulsions. If we modify zero tolerance and get support for our young people … we will see as a state and as a nation more students in school and off the streets, better test scores, and the opportunity to compete with the rest of the world."
For FULL STORY, go to: the Harriet Tubman Center, 4/25/14


Thursday, April 24, 2014 — Students Host Race to Raise Money for Wounded Warriors.  WAYNESBORO, PA: Waynesboro Area Senior High School sophomore Katie Arestad surmises that learning about business could be fun or very tedious. Katie and her classmates are applying lessons from their sports and entertainment marketing class to a significant project. The class will host its second annual Indian Dash obstacle race Saturday, May 10, at Renfrew Park. The race features a three-mile course with mud, water and climbing obstacles. Proceeds from registration fees will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. “It’s a really great cause,” Katie said. The 27 people in the class divided into groups to tackle areas such as marketing, concessions and course design. Wounded Warrior Project assists injured service members and their families. The students are trying to make their event friendly for families and spectators by offering viewing areas near the obstacles as well as children’s activities and music. Students secured event sponsorship from Buchanan Jeep and are seeking donations of food, money and gift cards from other businesses and people. “Businesses in Waynesboro have been very generous,” said Abigail Daniels, a senior. Brian Fisher’s students said they are trying to expand the event from what was held last year. They are hoping to have more than 500 participants and raise $5,000 for Wounded Warrior Project. The event is registered with Wounded Warrior Project, and a representative from the organization has talked with the class and provided guidance, students said. Katie Clawson and fellow sophomore Monica Beck designed T-shirts and tank tops. The class also is selling wristbands and bandanas. The class meets daily for an hour and 20 minutes, but students say they are investing time outside class. Several teenagers, including sophomore Ogochukwu Akamelu, have talked with other schools about promotion. “I never thought we’d spend as much money and time as we have,” said junior Hannah Rowe, saying she enjoys doing work for the cause.
For FULL STORY, go to: Herald-Mail Media, 4/24/14


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