With as rough as 2020 was, I was not expecting to have such a fond memory to hold onto from this year. As acknowledged, there is so much going on in the world these days, but a shining moment for me this year came by way of Project Soapbox. The fact that it was adaptable to a remote environment, and engaged students to interact remotely was a huge benefit. And I saw a lot of parallels between Project Soapbox and the things I try to teach my students who take my Geopolitical Studies course. The passion and communication skills that students develop in Soapbox made for a seamless transition into my classroom.
When we initially started, the biggest challenge for a lot of kids was narrowing their topic. So many of them were passionate about so many things! One student even asked to do two speeches! Aside from that, a lot of students wanted to go on and on about their topic, so much so that we spent a lot of time narrowing down their speeches.The passion and enthusiasm these students displayed for the project was amazing.
There are honestly so many memorable moments from Soapbox. It was incredible to see a group of 9th graders come alive with passion and enthusiasm for a project. One student gave a powerful speech on criminal justice reform that was of personal importance to her. Not only was it moving for me and the adults in attendance, but her peers were also impacted by her words. It was a really remarkable moment to observe. The thing that made it so special was how real it was. So many students spoke about personal topics. In many ways, I think students were learning things they have never known about each other and they have been classmates their whole lives.
The biggest takeaway from Soapbox for me personally is just how strong young people are these days. I was really moved by the speeches my students gave. I couldn’t have been more proud. I watched several kids come out of their shell through this project as well as other students absolutely glow with confidence. No matter how often I am impressed by students, they keep seeming to impress me. I was so inspired by my students. Through all the struggle of the last year, this has been a process I will never forget.
— Logan La Roche, Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, NH