JPEF's 2012 Youth Writing Contest has been extended until May 10th! Please visit our contest page for more information, including best practices for students and teacher tips with useful ideas for using the contest in the classroom.
Devon Day of Wilson Classical High School in Long Beach, CA recently sent us some of their own suggestions to help students choose a focus for the contest. This year’s topic centers on how the stories and life lessons of women partisans can inspire people today to make the world a better place.
Devon teaches Film Analysis to 150 students and is incorporating the contest into her curriculum. She asked a think tank of women activists to help her brainstorm resources and examples her students could use as inspiration in connecting the experiences of women partisans to contemporary subjects. Here are some key contemporary issues that the think tank came up with:
- Modern resistance movements, particularly people resisting and fighting back against genocide
- Contemporary women’s struggles for rights and civil liberties
- Overcoming traditional gender roles (particularly women in the military)
- Resisting/surviving sexual harassment and assault
- Standing up to bullies and bullying
- Risking your safety to helping others in need
Specific examples of such stories include Sunitha Krishnan who saved 11,000 children and women in India’s sex trafficking market and Dolores Huerta who worked with Cesar Chavez to bring rights to farm laborers and their families, and has expanded her foundation to work for gay rights, women’s rights and other causes.
Resources that could help inspire essayists include:
- CNN heroes list — everyday people who stepped up to make a difference
- Includes a profile of three impressive projects started by young people
- President Obama’s anti-bullying initiative
- Education as a form of resistance, such as Finland’s school reforms
The Youth Writing Contest is a fantastic way to connect teens to the pivotal role the partisans played in history. When learning about the stories of the partisans, educators should encourage students to identify the main ideas and lessons from what they have researched through JPEF’s films and study guides. Then, educators can have their students relate these ideas and lessons to one of the ideas listed above, or other relevant issues in their lives.
We look forward to reading all of the contest entries and wish your students good luck!