Today’s spotlights feature two groups who are making it their missions to shine the spotlight on their fellow students. Both @StudentsOfCresskill and @behind_the_artist are working to share the stories of their peers, and to highlight their stories and talents. For me, these two groups exemplify so well the value of what these kids are doing: giving voice to the voiceless. Here they are!
Let’s go @behind_the_artist…
We are Mackenzie Cardo, Nairi Arslanian, Sabrina Oppenheim, and Amanda Barbarise. We created an Instagram to showcase up and coming artists. One of our group members, Amanda Barise, is an artist in the making, and we feel that this artist needs more attention.
Meet the @StudentsOfCresskill…
Students of Cresskill is a collective of four students from Cresskill High School who are telling the stories of REAL high school students through the use of photos. Our group is currently made up of four seniors who have found their personalities over the past four years: Jason Ross, Sarah Moldt, Jeremy Nazario, and Shakira Villaquiran. If there is one goal we wish to achieve, it would be to spotlight a wide range of perspectives and characters to represent the high school student of today.
When we were first trying to brainstorm our project, we kept talking about how each one of us became a different person over the past four years of high school. Through these discussions, we realized that there was nothing out there that truly represented the spirit of high school students in 2016, especially the tight-knit community of Cresskill, NJ. All representations of high school in the media are mostly negative and reckless, portraying it as overflowing with drugs, sex, and a lack of respect for authority. Although these seem to exist at every school, it’s easy for one to forget that there’s so much to high school than that.
Through @StudentsofCresskill, we, REAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, are writing the narrative of current students through the use of social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram. Every week, we spotlight a new student with one of the four questions of high school. Each question comes together to shape the personalities of high school students and changes them from naive, confused children, to confident, strong adults. We hope this can actually represent high school students for years to come.
Aren’t they incredible? Both groups have been humble about their work, but @behind_the_artist has graciously shone a light on so many talented young people – not just Amanda, who’s their featured artist, but their peers as well. Their generosity has been so beautiful to see. As for the @StudentsofCresskill, I simply couldn’t be prouder. They’ve opened up such important conversations, and the featured students have bravely shared everything about who they are. In fact, the students here have responded to it so strongly that juniors are asking about whether or not anyone has been designated to take over the account when these students graduate, so that the sharing lives on. Even if they don’t “go viral” more broadly than our four walls, knowing that they’ve opened up a space where kids can talk about themselves and feel heard and valued has made me happy beyond measure.
We’re only halfway through the student blogs, and I’m happy to say you’ve got some really great stuff coming your way. Have a great weekend everyone, and …
Until next time,