The annual 6th Grade civic engagement project challenges students to make a meaningful impact on their community. Students began this year by reflecting on all of the different service projects they have done in their years at the Lower School—a list which is more comprehensive than most adults could muster—then they dialogue about the rights and responsibilities of participants in a democracy and brainstorm ways to engage. Hunger, homelessness, poverty, aging, health, education, the environment? Though there are so many important causes to champion, this year our students felt particularly sensitive to the devastating effects of the floods in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico as well as the wildfires in California. 6th graders determined to raise awareness about the need for emergency kits and to teach people in our community what they should do before, during, and after the most common emergencies in California. They chose to call the project S.A.F.E., Staying Alert for Emergencies.
To maximize effectiveness, students divided into smaller groups to create presentations, print materials, and public service announcements. They purchased pillowcases for every Lower School student to take home and decorate, then presented to students in grades K-5, tailoring their content to be age appropriate and empowering, rather than fear-based. In the next two weeks, the 6th graders will present to their Middle School peers as well as students at John Thomas Dye.