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Meet the 2021-22 Equity in Civics Youth Fellows [Part 6]

January 07, 2022

Pedro Pena, 12th Grade

Illinois

Why did you want to become an Equity in Civics Youth Fellow?

I wanted to become an ECY Fellow so that I could experience a safe environment where civic engagement is valued enough to where students can speak freely with one another about it.

Who is your biggest civic inspiration?

My biggest civic inspiration is my Social Studies teacher, as he has kept me on track on being engaged in not only in my school community but outside of it, as well. Also, he has given me plenty of resources and time to ensure that I am on top of my civic work.

How can students, teachers, and others support the Fellowship?

Students, teachers and others may support the Fellowship by attempting to engage one another in finding the importance of supporting civic-related programs, so that people can simply become aware of what's happening and what is being discussed.

Marley Best, 12th Grade

Pennsylvania

How did meeting fellows from across the country help develop your perspective?

It has allowed me to empathize with other students and put myself into the shoes of someone else. It's very easy to get wrapped up in your own experience and forget that everyone else has their own experience.

How has the Fellowship impacted your growth toward being civically-engaged?

The fellowship has driven me to reach out to community members and organizations to help out and contribute.

What have you learned so far in your time with the Fellowship?

It's important to remind students that civics is not just important, but it's fulfilling and even fun. Students get first-hand experience with leadership, and they get to share it with like-minded fellows.

Darren McQueen, 12th Grade

Florida

What are you most excited about with this Fellowship?

I am most excited about meeting a bunch of new people from all over the country. I'm from Miami, so everyone that I meet is basically the same, but this fellowship can expose me to many different people that act, live, and have experienced different events from me.

How did meeting Fellows from across the country help develop your perspective?

Meeting fellows from across the country has widened my perspective on civic education around the country. I have learned how not everyone around the country has been given the same opportunities to obtain a civic education as I have.

Why is it essential to have student-led opportunities available for students, like the Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship?

It is important to have student-led opportunities, such as the Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship, because students are the next generation to lead the country. By having these student-led opportunities, their civic education is becoming better and giving them the knowledge to be civic leaders.

Amylia Tra, 10th Grade

New Jersey

Why did you want to become an Equity in Civics Youth Fellow?

I wanted to learn ways to be more involved in my community and become a better leader. I am also really excited to be working with people from around the country to fix common problems in civic education.

Why is it essential to have student-led opportunities available for students, like the Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship?

When students are in charge of things and can make them their own, they work toward making everything better for themselves and their peers. It also shows adults that kids care about topics like civic education.

What have you learned so far in your time with the Fellowship?

I have learned how different schools and classrooms across the nation have the same issues as my community, yet so many are different. I have also learned that there is a nationwide lack of civic education and funding.

Dior Mfaume, 12th Grade

Missouri

What are you most excited about with this Fellowship?

I am most excited about meeting new people that have the same passion as me when it comes to civil rights and equality.

Who is your biggest civic inspiration?

My biggest civic inspiration I would say is Martin Luther King Jr.

How has the Fellowship impacted your growth toward being civically-engaged?

It has helped me to have more empathy toward others and have more understanding.


Through the Equity in Civics Youth Fellowship, the perspectives of high school students throughout the country contribute to the public conversation about civic education in the United States. Each contributor represents their own opinion. We welcome this diversity of perspectives.