Through joining clubs and various extracurricular activities, students get to explore their interests and become involved in the community as young and curious individuals. However, when one senses that their community is missing something, some students go the extra mile. These young changemakers show that during times of adversity, it is the people one is surrounded by, as well as their own passionate drive, that fuels their motivation to make their voices heard.
Nia Adeborna is a junior at Berkeley High School and recently became the vice president of BHS’s Black Honors Society. The Black Honors Society works to support Black students in their academic settings and give assistance on building passion projects and job resumes. When Adeborna was originally invited by the club’s president, Zoe Patterson, to head the Black Honors Society as Vice President, she did not feel completely up for the task. “I was very hesitant at first because I didn’t want that much responsibility,” said Adeborna. But following the continued persuasion by Patterson, Adeborna eventually decided to accept the position.
As Adeborna becomes more active in her leadership responsibility, she has developed a new perspective on her position as vice president. “I guess it’s not even (about) a leadership (role), it’s more like a community … you have to build connections,” said Adeborna.
After going to the UC Berkeley campus and attending a protest in support of Palestine amidst the Israel-Hamas war, Nur Makdisi, a senior at BHS, partnered up with another BHS senior, Muhammad Delgado, to bring that same attention to the BHS community.
“We printed out flyers all around the school, I posted on my Instagram, (and) my friends shared it with everyone … It was really spontaneous,” said Makdisi. In less than 24 hours, Makdisi and Delgado planned a walkout calling for a ceasefire that attracted over 150 BHS students.
However, Makdisi knew there would be a backlash towards what she was helping to organize. “(After) Muhammad and I put up the flyers, when I came to school the next day… half of them had been ripped down,” Makdisi said.
However, despite these challenges, Makdisi maintained her beliefs and the desire to act on them. “At the end of the day, I am human and when human rights are violated, I feel the need to speak up,” said Makdisi.
Ilana Nickolaus, a junior and co-president of the BHS Green Team, decided to take action against a large and pressing issue – climate change. In the beginning, Nickolaus had doubts as to how she would get members to stay involved with the club’s efforts against climate change. She consistently strives to keep members engaged. “I really try to make sure that every week we’re doing something, we’re accomplishing something, we’re working towards something,” she said.
However, Nickolaus emphasizes that she is not working alone. “I’m running this club with my friend Anja, who is great and also helps me keep track of stuff,” said Nickolaus. “We keep each other in check.” Additionally, working with other club members and really getting to know the Green Team community makes Nickolaus feel less alone in the battle against climate change.
“Try to find other people who care about the same thing because they’re really going to help you,” said Nickolaus. “It’s a lot easier than doing it yourself.”
*Muhammad Delgado is a writer for the Jacket, but was not involved in the process of writing this article.