As local readers learned of the pepper-spraying incident at the University of California-Davis, the student journalists at Davis Senior High School, less than a mile from the university campus, were going into action.
TEACHING ABOUT THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT
Two thousand miles away, four teen activists led Ravenna, Ohio’s first “Occupy” movement by marching from the high school to the courthouse lawn. There they echoed t Occupy Wall Street’s call for leveling the playing field between the wealthiest one percent of Americans and the rest of the nation. “Driving down Main Street reminds me of a ghost town with its empty storefronts,” one student said. “We should support our small businesses and build up Ravenna.”
Across the country, in big cities and towns, high school students have been collecting their thoughts about the Occupy Movement, visiting Occupy encampments, and broadcasting what they see and hear.
Below, we offer a sample of news stories that chronicle this engagement. Many are the work of high school journalists, writing for their school paper. “It fits in with everything we are doing,” said Rebecca Williams, an English literature teacher at Cleveland High School in Los Angeles. "It's a real-life movement—history in the making."
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 — Occupy Davis, as Covered by High School Journalists. DAVIS, CA: As readers learned of the pepper-spraying incident at the University of California-Davis, the student journalists at Davis Senior High School, less than a mile from the university campus, were going into action. Staff members of the award-winning Blue Devil HUB heard about it on Facebook. The next day, they saw status updates about the U.C.-Davis chancellor’s planned press conference, then used the social networking site to get organized, sending the editor in chief, a reporter, a photographer and a videographer to cover it. And they stayed for hours, capturing on video the ensuing “silent protest” by students as she left the building. The student staff members then used Facebook and YouTube to share their photographs and video with their school community – and the world. The Blue Devil HUB video of Ms. Katehi walking through a group of silent student protesters was played on the “Today Show” and “Good Morning America,” and has gotten more than 127,000 hits on YouTube to date.
Student staff members posted their special issue online and distributed a print edition to the social studies and history teachers in their school, who that week used the special issue to teach about the event.
Chloe Kim, the Blue Deveil HUB editor in chief, said she and several other newspaper staff members headed over to the campus in the afternoon to cover the press conference. Only the videographer, Anna Sturla, had her school-issued press pass with her. It was enough to get her into the press conference, where she shot video alongside journalists from the mainstream media. The students interviewed student protesters while they waited for Ms. Katehi to leave the building, and watched as the protesters debated what to do when she emerged. “I actually got the sense that the student protesters were more willing to talk to us” than to professional reporters, Ms. Kim said.
Finally, the protesters decided to line the walkway and sit silently as Ms. Katehi walked through the group. Ms. Sturla was in position to shoot video of the “silent walk.”
That evening, the staff members gathered at Ms. Sturla’s house, transcribing notes, editing photos and video and pulling together a story. Staff members have received enthusiastic feedback from other students as well, many of whom are applying to the U.C. system for college and are concerned, Ms. Kim said, about rising tuition and about student rights on campus. And the experience has changed the way the newspaper staff members operate. Ms. Kim said that two print reporters have been reassigned to the Web site, and the staff members are now posting more content, with greater frequency, online than they were previously.
For FULL STORY, go to: the New York Times Education blog
Monday, December 5, 2011 — Occupy: Cleveland. PORTLAND, OR: On Friday, Nov. 18 a fluctuating group of about 20 to 30 Cleveland students took inspiration from the Occupy: Wall Street movement and decided to have their own protest, Occupy: Cleveland. Students left sixth period early and stood outside the school with homemade signs claiming “We are the 99%.” The organizer of Occupy: Cleveland, senior Lily Shumar-Kray, was inspired to have a protest at Cleveland after the demonstration in Portland dwindled in size. She wanted to keep the movement alive and decided that she could do that at her high school.
Senior Jack Meskel was one of the many students who took part in the protest. “Even though we are just in high school and don’t pay taxes we are going to have go to college and get jobs in the aftermath of a destroyed economy,” said Meskel. He supports the Occupy of Cleveland, but believes some people are there for the wrong reasons. When asked questions concerning the cause of the economic collapse in 2008 or what the 99% stood for, many of the students protesting couldn’t answer questions about. Many had also rolled up their shirts and written “99%” on their stomachs.
For FULL STORY, go to: Clarion, Cleveland High School, Portland, OR
Thursday, December 5, 2011 — High School Students Meet with Occupy Protestors. BANGOR, ME: Their tents and signs no longer grace the lawn of the Bangor Public Library, but the city's Occupy movement still has a presence in town that's shaping the opinions of a younger generation. "What I was most curious about was their whole plan for how they plan to go about their expenditures economically," said Charlie Volkwein, a student at John Bapst Memorial High School.
The school invited members of Occupy Bangor to attend a forum hosted by Volkwein and a panel of other students. "We think they had a high level of interest and we think that's great," said Occupy member Lawrence Reichard. Reichard spent Monday morning answering questions prepared by students. They ranged anywhere from what is the 99% to when will the movement come to an end.
For FULL STORY, go to: WABI TV-5
Saturday, December 3, 2011 — Teens bring 'Occupy' movement to Ravenna. RAVENNA, OH: A small group of young activists led Ravenna’s first “Occupy” movement by marching from Ravenna High School on North Chestnut Street to the Portage County Courthouse lawn after school Friday. Four Ravenna High School students, Alexandeur Ross, Hannah Main, Clewesha Perry and Carter Adams, and Kent State University freshman Dominique Cheney wanted to echo the message of the Occupy Wall Street protests to level the playing field between the wealthiest one percent of Americans and the rest of the nation.
The group also sought to raise awareness to support local businesses. Adams, a freshman at Ravenna High School, said if people would actually take the time to look around Ravenna, they could find things they wish to purchase in Main Street shops, rather than going to corporate retailers. Cheney, said the idea to march in silent protest came a week before Thanksgiving, when she and Adams began discussing the occupy protests on Facebook. She said driving down Main Street reminds her of a ghost town when she sees empty storefronts, she said. “We should support our small business and build up Ravenna,” she said.
For FULL STORY, go to: recordpub.com, Kent, Ohio
Friday, December 2, 2011 — The Truth About Occupy. ORLANDO, FL: Prior to Thanksgiving break, a Google search of Occupy Wall Street would probably have provided very little real information. A viewer may have seen one of two things: an article discussing the movement’s supposed violence, or their negative impact. Knowing that I would be in New York City over break, I made the decision to see the movement for myself. It was far different from media reports. Just a week after eviction, the number of New York City’s Zucotti Park protestors may have shrunk, but their message stood loud and clear. In the group, 24 year old Dave Korn, a University of Miami graduate, and 18 year old, Laurenceville High school student, Drea Miesnieks provided information that greatly differed from the media representation.
“One common misperception of this movement that people seem to have is that people think that we should be taking from the 1%. I don’t think that anybody here has a problem with people having wealth. What people have a problem with is that wealth exists while such poverty exists at the same time. I believe that’s what this movement is about, that rather than focusing on efforts to take from the one percent, efforts should be focused by all of us in order to ameliorate the problems that are occurring with the poorest,” explained Korn. A firm believer in opportunity for all, Miesnieks agrees and feels that there are a multiple reasons behind the protests. “There are a lot of things that could come out of it, like you could easily just say we want better funding for education, we want jobs, we want more economic equality and stability, to end corporate greed. Personally, there are a few different reasons. One is because I’m part of this population and I feel like I have a duty to. It’s something I do care about, something I really feel that I have a part of, I play a role in it and I can change it,” said Miesnieks.
For FULL STORY, go to: Paw Street Journal, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, FL
Thursday, December 1, 2011 — Locals Get Involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Middlebury, VT: The Occupy Wall Street Movement that celebrated its two-month anniversary only a week ago has received a good deal of media attention, with conflicts over eviction, police violence, and in some unfortunate cases, death, sparking public interest. One of the few things that currently appears certain is that the camping-out phase of the protest is coming to an end. However, when Middlebury Union High School senior Zac Young went to the Occupy Wall Street protest in downtown Manhattan in mid-October, camping and tents were still a major part of the movement.
Aside from visiting Zuccotti Park, where the New York City protesters have congregated, Young has supported the demonstrators chiefly by putting up posters around the school. He says that he agrees with the protesters’ general message. Though some media outlets have complained that Occupy Wall Street lacks a clear coherent message, it is not hard to understand the movement’s general desires: ending to the vast inequality of wealth, increasing efficacy of government, and eliminating the idea of corporate personhood.
For FULL STORY, go to: The Tiger’s Print, Middlebury Union High School, Middlebury, VT
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 — Occupy Movement coming to Streator. OTTAWA, IL: Streator Township High School senior Nicole Swartz hopes an Occupy Streator movement can bring awareness to the community. The Occupy Movement has made its way from Wall Street in New York to several other large cities and now into smaller towns like Streator and Ottawa. The movement's rallying cry of "We are the 99 percent" comes from Congressional Budget Office statistics that show 1 percent of income earners possess the majority of the nation's wealth. More specifically, the group is against government incentives they believe make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
Swartz is planning a roundtable discussion at the Streator Public Library to launch the grassroots movement in Streator. A date for the meeting has not been set. "This will be simply to discuss what the Occupy Movement is and to decide what we want our involvement to consist of. It'll be open to the public," Swartz said. " ... I think the majority doesn't care to see what's going on. This is about getting more people to care and letting our government know we have a say." Swartz created a Facebook event page called "Occupy Streator Roundtable" to post updates and a Facebook page for "Occupy Ottawa, IL." exists as well.
For FULL STORY, go to: The Times
Friday, November 25, 2011 — Occupy L.A. offers a hands-on civics lesson for students, teachers. LOS ANGELES, CA: Who says history has to be about dead men and a dreary assortment of dates and names?
For countless students and teachers, the Occupy L.A. encampment at City Hall has become a living classroom, a place to put a contemporary twist on topics such as the causes of the Great Depression and the limits of the 1st Amendment. On a recent afternoon, students from at least three schools joined the colorful milieu of protesters — playing ball, posing with pet roosters and sounding off about corporate greed — to interview them about their aims. Cleveland High School student Ryan Janowski, for instance, asked hard questions about whether the movement's leaderless structure would impede its progress. Classmate Christopher Berry sniffed the aroma of marijuana and wondered whether a few "dignified leaders" might help protesters gain wider public acceptance.
The students are part of Cleveland's humanities magnet program, which is exploring class differences in America and comparing the Occupy movement with 19th century transcendentalism. "It fits in with everything we're doing," said Rebecca Williams, an English literature teacher at the Reseda school. "It's a real-life movement — history in the making." Educators across the nation have taken up the Occupy movement as a teaching opportunity for civics, history, government and even geography classes. Organizations such as C-SPAN, the Bill of Rights Institute and the Annenberg Classroom have developed lesson plans for mass consumption.
For FULL STORY, go to: Los Angeles Times
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 — Nashua High School South group tours Occupy Boston. BOSTON, MA: As she welcomed the group of Nashua High School South students to Occupy Boston, Rita Sebastian told the story behind the statue of Mahatma Gandhi propped up in the camp. “Gandhi was a gift given from the Peace Abbey to Occupy Boston,” said Sebastian, who served as the tour guide through the sea of tents set up in Dewey Square, on the Monday morning visit. “The reason for that is Gandhi was like the father of civil, nonviolent disobedience. And that’s what we do here.”
A group of about 60 students, mostly seniors, traveled by bus to tour the site of Occupy Boston on Monday. Teacher James Gaj said the trip was inspired by students in his contemporary global studies classes asking about the purpose of the Occupy Wall Street movement. “These people are obviously upset about something. The question for the students is, are they going about it the right way?” Gaj said.
For FULL STORY, go to: Nashua Telegraph
Monday, November 21, 2011 — Students identify with Occupy Wall Street protests. TIMONIUM, MD: Climbing college costs and influence from social media have piqued local interest in the Occupy Wall Street protests against capitalism, corporate greed and the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Senior Rayna Robinson attended the Wall Street protests on Oct. 15 while touring colleges in New York. Her tour convinced her that the on-going Occupy movement had legitimate grievances. “I was there because college tuition should not be this high,” she explained. “I did the math, and by the time I graduate, I’ll be $18,000 in debt. And that’s not even that much, comparatively. The College Board reports that the average tuition for public out-of-state colleges has risen over 5.2 percent from last year to around $29,657—a ridiculous number, Robinson said. This inspired her to hold up a homemade sign reading, “Americans can’t afford the American dream.”
“Occupy Wall Street is certainly in line with the American tradition,” said Advanced Placement U.S. history teacher Kathleen Skelton. “Since the beginning of the two-party system, public displays and rhetoric and protests have brought attention to issues of the people as well as inspired great change.”
For FULL STORY, go to: The Griffin, Dulaney High School, Timonium, MD
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