From climate change to education reform, eighth grade students at King School are exploring the role of rights and resistance for political or social change through activism. English teacher Stephanie Hoos and history teacher Kenneth Lewis paired up to propose the essential question, “What does activism look like?” The two teachers put together a list of over 80 activists under the age of 25 for the students to research.
Once the students identified an activist of interest, they began creating a project of their choice that best represents their research and learning, such as a webpage, artwork, a dialogue, or a presentation. Project partners Daniel Manos ’26 and Charles Schwartz ’26 opted to create a diorama made from a shoebox to highlight their activist, Bana Alabed.
“We chose Bana Alabed for our project because she’s about our age and is already being an activist by posting tweets about the Syrian war,” said Charles. “We put black and white pictures from the war in the background of the shoe box and placed Bana Alabed in the front with her phone, tweeting about the wars. Her picture is the only one in color because we wanted to show her as a light in a dark place,” said Daniel about the project.
Eighth grade student Bruno Ribeiro is using his project to explore his passion for climate change, an issue he refers to as “one of the most important global issues because of its impact on everyone.” His chosen activist, Vanessa Nakate, is regarded as one of Africa’s leading climate activists known for addressing unusually high temperatures on the continent. Bruno and his partner, Cyrus Noren ’26, plan to highlight Nakate’s work by creating a stop-motion animation, a technique that puts together an animation frame-by-frame to create a motion picture.
Not only do the projects encourage students to connect with a cause, but it also challenges them to come up with innovative solutions to promote change in the world around them. Amy Powell ’26 and her partner, Gillian Lehneis ’26, designed a staircase with an accessibility ramp out of popsicle sticks to show that “with the right support and advocacy, people with disabilities can achieve just as much, if not more, than anybody else.” Their chosen activist, Anna Landre, has spinal muscular atrophy and is an activist for disability rights.
On the last day before winter break, a curated gallery of all the projects will be available to view in the middle school atrium and hallways. Hathaway Liparidis ’26 looks forward to showcasing her work on LGBTQIA+ activist Alex Escaja.
“Alex identifies as bisexual and transgender and has won multiple film competitions, one of them from NASA. This inspired me to create a sculpture of a trans person with planets surrounding the head,” said Hathaway. “The planets are painted with colors from the LGBTQIA+ flag. I’m super excited for the finished piece and to see all of my classmates’ work as well at the gallery!”