In this yearlong course, students in Global Girls-Global Action produce a research project that can fulfill their Independent Inquiry requirement for graduation, especially if they are seeking to graduate with our Global Leadership Distinction. This is often their first encounter with in-depth academic research. However, a critical part of this course is also its “action” component: students are tasked to find creative ways to make positive changes regarding their chosen issue.
Last week we shared a photographic portrait by Kelis Johnson of a young Kanaka (herself) wrapped in the Hawaiian flag. This week, we share our final project summaries to wrap things up.
"Making school a safer place for LGBTQ+ Youth"
Elena Hollenbeak, 10th grade, has chosen to research the experience of LGBTQ+ youth in school, specifically in Hawaii. Over 30% of all reported teen suicides each year are committed by gay and lesbian youths, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. School environments can either be influential support systems or a polarizing detriment to a youth’s mental health. In Elena’s own words, “ the school environment is not necessarily discriminatory, but passivity does not equal inclusivity.” Elena’s Action Project aims to foster an actively inclusive and supportive school environment for LGBTQ+ students. After analyzing the feedback she received in a student body survey, Elena has built a list of possible changes that can be implemented in our school and curriculum. “I want to be a catalyst for this change along with my advisors and peers to create equity for LGBTQ+ youth starting with my school community,” she said.
“Racism & Discrimination in Hawaii”
Amelia Levy chose “Racism & Discrimination in Hawaii” as the theme of her research and action project.
“I’ve created this art piece which is my perspective on racism in Hawaiʻi. While researching this topic, I learned that racism and discrimination in Hawaiʻi are not targeting any specific part of the population, as it may be in other parts of the country or the world. It affects a variety of ethnicities and it is, therefore, everyone’s problem.
That is how I got the idea of a collage representing a combination of genders, ages, and ethnicities. Family members and friends have contributed to my collage. This collage says that we will have to all come together to end discrimination of all sorts. I’m very excited for everyone to see my project. I had so much fun going around taking pictures of my family and friends! Many of them had questions as to what the pictures were for, so I enjoyed being able to share my knowledge with them about racism in Hawaiʻi."
"Child mistreatment in the Asia-Pacific Region"
Emali Malohi, 10th grade, chose to research child abuse’s causes with a focus on Pacific Islands. Child abuse is not often discussed in Hawaii, and yet it is a very real thing that happens behind closed doors. The consequences are immediate as well as long-term and the causes are multiple (financial stress, lack of education and skills, mental illness, substance abuse, a family history of violence, etc.). Specific to Pacific Island communities, there is also a child-rearing tradition that sees “tough love” as a necessity for the development of strong and responsible adults. For her Action Project, Emali has made masks with her church and given them to the Children’s Justice Center of East Hawaii whose mission is to help and support families and children victims of neglect and violence.