MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Students around the UP are growing their community voice, shedding light on community issues that could have a global impact. Project Soapbox is an initiative started by the youth empowering group Mikva Challenge.
The Tom Baldini Soapbox Showcase, now in its sixth year, gathered over 400 students from Negaunee, Marquette, Houghton, and Munising schools, on Monday, November 20th, to get on their soapboxes, and discuss various issues that they believe our community faces.
In this year’s showcase, Marquette Senior High School was joined by Negaunee High School, Houghton High School, and Munising Middle School, adding to the student pool taking part in this event.
“One of my favorite lines that I’ve learned over the years is that ‘students aren’t apathetic they’re just often uninvited” and so what we try to do is to provide a platform for students to make a ripple of change in society on an issue that matters to them,” commented AP Government Teacher and Tom Baldini Fellow Blythe Raikko.
Ten finalists were selected among the thousand students from the UP, and each discussed various topics from mental health concerns to climate change issues. “You know it’s fabulous this room is just buzzing with energy and just giving us hope for society moving forward,” continued Blythe.
One of the winners, Alaura Welch, spoke on the topic of sexual harassment and noted that even though she was nervous, making sure her fellow students were well-informed on the issue was the real focus that got her through the speech. “I think it’s great, especially for students who are able to come out here and do stuff like this and get their voices heard. It’s good that we’re starting to have conversations instead of arguments,” advocated Marquette Senior School Junior Alaura Welch.
Giving a youth-driven engaging event like this, advocates for this program added that it helps to form a different sense of confidence when speaking about issues that affect the community if not the world.