This weekend, seniors throughout the town will stroll throughout the commencement stage and obtain their diplomas. Earlier this month, the Journal Star sat down with six seniors who’ve labored to advance fairness, range and inclusion of their colleges (Interviews have been edited for size and readability).
Zein Saleh, Lincoln North Star
What are your plans after commencement?
Studying political science on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I additionally hope to go to regulation faculty. The plan is to go outdoors Nebraska. I feel I wish to go into (schooling) regulation.
Three phrases you wish to go away the Class of 2022.
A phrase as a substitute: Don’t be afraid to succeed in out.
What is a second out of your time at LPS that you’ll look again on with delight?
I used to be born in Damascus, Syria, and I moved right here once I was 3 years previous as a result of my dad and mom deliberate to review for his or her graduate levels. … There have undoubtedly been instances as I grew up the place I did not essentially really feel represented by staffing that I used to be uncovered to or the curriculum that I used to be studying. And so a kind of memorable expertise for me has simply been partaking myself within the work of academic fairness and academic activism.
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What is one piece of recommendation you’ll give to college students — particularly college students of shade — who really feel like their voices aren’t heard?
Quite a bit of the alternatives that I’ve had, these weren’t given to me, these have been issues I needed to advocate for myself. I needed to attain out to folks that I knew had connections so as to get myself up there. … You will probably be left behind if you happen to do not advocate for your self. So I feel that it may be uncomfortable, it may be a step that you need to cross, however on the finish of the day, people who find themselves profitable often needed to work that means.
You have been sophomores when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world. What form of affect did which have on you and your classmates?
I feel (the pandemic) and George Floyd was an awakening for lots of folks. … I feel it goes to indicate that whereas that will have been the catalyst for change, for lots of folks, significantly white folks, it was by no means the defining second for lots of folks of shade who had skilled that kind of worry or that was their whole life.
What would you prefer to see improved upon at LPS below a brand new superintendent in phrases of academic fairness?
Facilitating extra scholar voice. I really feel like this was the primary 12 months the place I and some different college students actually acquired enter on such essential decision-making on the district that historically college students are simply excluded from.
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