Highlights from the 9th Annual Civics Fair
Students representing a cross-sector of Chicago presented 56 activism projects on Saturday, April 30th at Mikva Challenge's 9th Annual Civics Fair. For the first time, this year's fair was open to the public, so parents, friends, teachers, public officials, and community leaders were able to see what these high school students have been working on to better the Chicago community. The event was an excellent opportunity to see the courageous Action Civics work of Chicago high school students as they tackled issues of youth violence, LGBT rights, teen pregnancy, school funding, sex trafficking and other tough issues affecting Chicago schools, communities, and young people. Here is a quick snapshot of a few activism projects students worked on this year:
Project #25: College Graduates = Stronger America: The Mitch Daniels Memorial Amendment
Gage Park students are lobbying legislators to amend Section 484, subsection R of the Higher Education Act of 1998 because they are concerned that they are the first generation of "No Second Chances" Americans. The Amendment in question denies students from receiving financial aid for college if they have been convicted of an offense regarding a controlled substance.
Project #40: Better
According to Morgan Park High School students, a major problem Track E students face is the the scheduling of semester exams following the particularly long breaks unique to Track E schools. The team at Morgan Park proposed to arrange the first semester exam schedule so the exams will precede break. They believe that this modification will improve students' first semester exam scores because they will not forget information over the break.
Project #42: Stepping Out of the Shadows: Claiming the Promise of Education and Rights for All Americans
Proviso Math & Science Academy students focused their action project around higher education for undocumented students. They identified the lack of legislation offering a path to citizenship for youth who came to the United States as children as the leading factor limiting access to education for many of their undocumented peers. To take a stand on this issue, the students wanted their voices heard in a collective forum through involvement in grassroots community organizations, such as Nuestra Voz. Students have taken action focused on passage of the Dream Act and the Illinois Dream Act, by lobbying locally, holding rallies and attending a Lobby Day in Springfield.
Check out the other 53 action projects in the 9th Annual Civics Fair Program Book.