This week’s blog is written from the perspective of USC Shoah Foundation junior interns, who are part of USC Shoah Foundation’s William P Lauder Junior Intern program. Please read below for their views on how participation in the Stronger Than Hate Challenge impacts student learning.
By Alejandra Casillas, Grace Sandman, Hannah Levy, John Levy and Riley Emerson
As communities adjust to the new norm of spending more time at home, engage students in meaningful project-based learning that aligns to national and state education requirements, builds soft skills like empathy and understanding, and encourages virtual collaboration between siblings, students, and friends.
The Stronger Than Hate Challenge invites students ages 13+ to use their own unique form of storytelling – including videos, songs, social media campaigns, paintings and more – to create a community that is stronger than hate. Perfect for students to complete while homebound, the challenge draws upon the powerful testimony of survivors and witnesses of genocide to demonstrate that stories have potential – potential to change the future.
Read on to hear firsthand from middle and high school students – who are who are currently participating in USC Shoah Foundation’s internship program – about why they’re joining the fight to make the world stronger than hate.
USCSF intern Riley starts by explaining that the Stronger Than Hate Challenge “allows every student to learn and value the effect that testimony has on our lives.” Through the challenge, a student can truly see how testimony and listening to someone’s story can connect to our lives.
Alejandra and Grace share how the Stronger Than Hate Challenge has taught them about history – and in turn how the challenge teaches students about themselves.
John and Hannah describe how the challenge empowers students to find their voice, motivating others to do the same in such a way that creates a “chain reaction” of kids inspiring kids to make a difference. “No matter who you are or where you come from, you can make a difference,” said John. Their advice to students wanting to make change in their community is inspired by the testimony of George Papanek, who says “think globally, act locally.”
Other interns emphasized the importance for students to be able to express ideas and beliefs through art, describing how the challenge gives young people a powerful outlet to speak out about issues important to them, while gaining a deeper understanding of the power of storytelling can work to make the world a better place.
Challenge submissions are open through June 2, 2020, with winners eligible to receive up to $10,000 in prizes, including a trip to USC Shoah Foundation’s Global Headquarters in Los Angeles, California to learn directly from expert storytellers. Learn more about the Stronger Than Hate Challenge at teachingwithtestimony.com and empower teens to lead the way in overcoming hate in all forms.