A 17 year old Senior at Conestoga High School is interested in the general balance between national security and personal privacy in the United States. He is specifically interested in this topic on a personal level as it relates to his high school after several video cameras were installed without due cause. His concerns stem from the created sense of distrust from the administration towards the students. As a result, he feels that personal freedoms and independence are limited and that this breach of privacy could expose unnecessary embarrassing or private moments more than it prevents criminal actions. He perceives this more as an insult to his and his peer’s judgement, which is unnecessary and counterproductive in promoting personal growth and decision making capability in a learning environment. Instead, he advocates for responsible security. Meaning that due to reasonable cause there is appropriate communication between the administration and the students for increased surveillance. He believes that this will promote more trust and faith between the high school administration and its’ students and in turn, a more relaxed atmosphere that promotes learning. His social media campaign demonstrates ways in which over surveillance may be counterproductive. The book 1984 by George Orwell is his inspiration.
A 17 year old Senior at Mercy Vocational High School has aspirations of becoming an Emergency Room nurse in the near future. Motivated by her empathy and compassion for others she wishes to expand on last year’s topic, Domestic Violence. This year, Daniella is focusing on healthy, positive, and constructive personal relationships. More specifically, she wishes to advocate for teen girls to become more self-aware and confident in recognizing how an unhealthy relationship manifests itself and how to take action in establishing a healthy relationship that is supportive and loving. Her social media campaign, #SpreadTheLove, aims to provide an outlet where others may share positive examples of how they exhibit healthy, respectful, and caring behavior.
A 17 year old Senior at Lower Merion High School is interested in the long-term mental effects, like depression, caused by verbally and emotionally abusive relationships. As a high school girl who has witnessed her peers in these types of abusive relationships, she had experienced great concern for their mental well-being. She wants to raise awareness to other teens so that they can prevent themselves from entering into these difficult situations. Her social media campaign, #KnowWhenToGo, displayed through Instagram, wants to advertise positive examples demonstrating sought after healthy attributes, like trust, that girls could be seeking in relationships. For her final project, she plans to capture the degradation one might feel from a mentally abusive relationship by showing harsh examples of a distorted self-image. This is used to reinforce the damaging effects an abusive relationship can have on a person. The objective is to inform others and help them feel supported. She plans to offer a resolution by providing resources for those experiencing abuse or suspected abuse.
A 14 year old Freshman at Philadelphia High School for Girls (Girls High) is studying methods for boosting self-esteem specifically in teen-aged girls. Motivated by her compassion and empathy towards her close friends, who she witnessed suffering from low self-esteem, she wants to encourage them and others to feel comfortable in their own skin, realize their self-worth, and remind everyone that they are special and important. Ideally, she wants to empower and support young girls by demonstrating confidence and positive self-talk that supports the developing ego of teen girls. In turn, she hopes this will help establish fundamental habits that will lead to healthy behaviors and a positive self-image as young adults. She believes that high self-esteem is important because it empowers an individual to live up to their potential and pursue, with confidence, their worthwhile goals and dreams. Her social media campaign is like none other. Taelyn came up with the novel idea of spreading compliments to three random girls in her school through Twitter. In turn, each girl must pay it forward by randomly tagging and complimenting three more girls setting off a chain reaction of positivity and compliments. The goal is to encourage teens to think in a positive and respectful manner that fosters positive self-esteem and a safe and encouraging environment.
A 14 year old Sophomore at Haddon Township High School wishes to participate in the efforts of teen smoking cessation. She believes that peer behavior, especially peers who are influential to teens, greatly influence and inspire each other to behave in a similar manner. Therefore, it is important that everyone take responsibility for their behavioral patterns that influence others such as choosing not to smoke in front of others. This is important because smoking, as we all know, has seriously debilitating health consequences that are often not felt until much later in life. She feels frustration when an individual’s choice to smoke impinges upon her personal health efforts. She feels helpless when she witnesses an adult smoking in front of their younger family members because it is teaching unhealthy habits and perpetuating the cycle. Her media campaign aims to influence smokers to be more accountable for their actions that negatively affect others. She wants to show examples of smokers choosing not to smoke in front of their friends and younger siblings. #PinkLungsWin wants to encourage teens to start taking the initiative towards quitting while fighting the spread of peer pressure to smoke.
A 17 year old Senior at Upper Darby High School is interested in studying the long-term health consequences of beginning smoking during the teen years. Concerned for her own health and well-being, and that of her friends who smoke, she is hoping to implement an intervention campaign that deters this behavior at an early age by informing teens on the dangers of smoking while demonstrating that smoking looks “uncool.” Her effort is aimed to prevent teens from beginning smoking and convince teens to stop once started. Kene understands that this can be a difficult feat for many people so, she plans to present viable and realistic solutions for quitting. Mainly, she plans to present alternatives and supplementary resources to make quitting an easier process such as healthier examples of stress reducing behavior and socially acceptable behavior. She idealizes the day that teens believe that smoking is not a part of our culture anymore.
An 18 year old Graduate from Mastery Charter High School who is matriculating into Millersville University this Fall plans to major in Finance & Accounting with career goals centering around Accounting or Law. As a black woman entering into a predominantly white rural institution, she anticipates tension and increased awareness of the racial inequalities and biases that await her. Inspired by her concerns and interests, Cierra chose to focus on the racial inequalities within the justice system. Specifically, she plans to focus on black males aged 18-26 and their disproportionate representation in correctional facilities as compared to white racial demographics. She plans to demonstrate the unequal punishments among the races highlighting this important divide. One area of focus relates to the forgiveness of police brutality towards black men and women. Furthermore, she has found this misrepresentation to be equally applied to black women. Interestingly though, the women have received more justice than the males as relevant to unnecessary police brutality. #BlacksInPower hopes to empower black youth to pursue involvement and/or careers in the criminal justice system. She encourages them to take personal accountability in representing their voice and becoming responsible and active members in the political community with the intention of raising awareness, shifting racial biases, and becoming a larger positive racial representation within this branch of government.
A 16 year old junior at Mercy Vocational High School is interested in studying the importance of inner circle social support for teens suffering from depression. She specifically wants to provide the teens’ close social circles of families, friends, and mentors the necessary tools and resources to help communicate, understand, and alleviate the weight of depression. Her own experiences with depression have motived her to increase awareness to her own social circle so that they may understand how to help her feel more comfortable and supported while enduring the effects of depression. In turn, she hopes that others with similar experiences may benefit from her project by improving the quality of their life or their loved one’s life during these critical teen years of self-discovery and identity. The overall goal is to prevent the worst outcome, suicide that sometimes results from the pain and loneliness of social isolation that often accompanies those suffering from this condition.
A 17 year old junior at Delaware Valley Charter High School is interested in studying the economic consequences of teen pregnancy as compared to non-pregnant counterparts. Inspired by his mother who was 16 when she became pregnant with him and 17 when pregnant with his brother endured the social and economic disadvantages of being an underemployed single mother with two babies. As a child, he too experienced the pressures of economic hardship. To pay homage to his mother, he wishes to study the long-term socioeconomic effects of social and economic support programs that provide pregnant Philadelphian teens, aged 16-18, with life skills, parenting skills, and resources that help them complete high school and pursue higher education. He hypothesizes that the impact of these programs not only equips teen mothers to adequately care for themselves and their children but also decreases the long-term economic gap between pregnant teens and their non-pregnant counterparts. Thus, leading to decreased recurring pregnancies and increased earning potential. Jeremiah hopes that his social media campaign, #SupportTeenMoms, provides a constructive platform where teen mothers may help guide, support, and motivate each other on their success. He hopes that his high school can implement a similar support program with the teen parents at his school.