As a student of a public junior high school in Queens, Generation Citizen (GC) was an unexpected program to participate in. Our teachers gave us homework, different projects to complete, and subject curriculums – things that we did not question, and we finished our work as we were told. However, GC gave us the opportunity to question that system of education. GC showed us eighth graders that school is not ruled only by other adults in charge, but school is also place “of the students, by the students, for the students.” Moreover, this non-profit organization showed us democracy at its fullest, how to be democratically involved in school by making decisions, and being part of the school community. Through the curriculum and events like Civics Day, GC inspires us.
My Democracy Coaches, Miss Aarati and Miss Grace, opened us to limitless ideas and civic topics. On day 1 of our class, we all thought this was one of those classes where it will be horridly boring. However, over the following days we understood the deeper meaning of what our coaches were teaching us, what it truly was to be a student. Moreover, one of our biggest projects over the semester was making a curriculum about bullying, as we were divided into groups representing the different types of bullying. This, of course, was a challenging project, yet our hard work truly paid off. Our class was honored to meet Councilman Daniel Dromm, who loved our idea of creating an anti-bullying diversity curriculum. At the end of our semester, we, as a class, were educated on bullying, anti-bullying, and diversity, our ignorance gone. Even a few of our classmates, that were once former bullies, now understood how horrid bullying is, and bullying in our classroom had plummeted to zero.
The bigger event that had occurred to me and four of my classmates was Civics Day. This event pulled our class together, with almost everyone in our class helping, because the diversity curriculum was close to their hearts. At Civics Day, our judges were mind-blown by our work, which led to me and my four classmates Progga, Luisa, Paola, and Jaskarn to receive the “Class Change-Maker” award. After a victorious Civics Day, our work was not done, for as the students of The Magnet School for Civics in the Community; we attended Civics Fair, a three-hour long night where everyone in our school celebrated multiculturalism. This was a time to show parents our curriculum, who admired our work and agreed that their children needed to be educated on anti-bullying. My group members had also met Councilman Dromm in his office to talk about making our curriculum happen. We want our diversity curriculum to educate the coming generation of students, for bullying is something we deeply care about, and we know the consequences of it. When I begin to question myself, if our idea of a diversity curriculum will work, I begin to understand that bullying is like crime, it is inevitable. Nonetheless, if our diversity curriculum can make students understand bullying and the effects of bullying, then our hope is that the coming generations of students will live in a safe, equal, anti-bullying learning environment. In that hope, we strive to succeed.
– Sayem Hossain, Generation Citizen 8th Grader at IS230, The Magnet School for Civics in the Community, NYC
Generation Citizen is a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 tax exempt organization which does not endorse candidates; our goal is to engage our staff, participants, and stakeholders in political and civic action on issues that matter to them personally and in their communities. The opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the writer alone and do not reflect the opinions of Generation Citizen.