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RCSD Students Get on Their "Soapboxes" for Student Voice Event

(February 16, 2024) Student voice was loud and clear at Northeast College Preparatory High School on Thursday, February 15, as students delivered powerful speeches in a “Project Soapbox” showcase. 

Students delivered two-minute speeches on issues that matter to them. In these speeches, they identified issues such as war crimes, poverty, and mental health and how they have impacted their lives and the lives of their families.

“We did research and got evidence to support what we are talking about, and then we presented it to everyone so they could get a view of how important these topics are,” said Omariana Curry, a senior at Northeast who spoke about sexual assault.  

“Students get to have their voices heard,” said Gil Rosa, a Social Studies teacher at Northeast. “They can be apprehensive at first, but they do all the research, prepare a speech, and then present it to the community. I am honored to be a part of this. To see how far the kids have come from the beginning until now is unbelievable; these kids are amazing.”

Project Soapbox allows students to share their ideas with community leaders and civic partners who can help them put their ideas into action. Dignitaries in attendance included School Board Commissioner Isaiah Santiago, State Assemblywoman Sarah Clark, Monroe County Legislature President Yversha Roman, and RCSD Chief of Schools LaJuan White.

Project Soapbox is a collaborative effort with the Mikva Challenge, a nonpartisan organization that develops youth to be empowered, informed, and active citizens who promote a just and equitable society. It aligns with the District’s social studies curriculum, and a Districtwide showcase of soapbox speeches will be held on Tuesday, March 5, at the Strong Museum of Play. 

RCSD’s event was part of Mikva Challenge’s nationwide program that provides students in cities across the country a platform to speak out about the issues that are important to them. Select students from each citywide Project Soapbox event, including the Rochester City School District, will be invited to participate in Mikva Challenge’s Soapbox Nation