2022 LAPSN Student Upstanders

Posted by Jason David on May 31, 2022

Every year, Facing History and Ourselves is honored to create a public platform to highlight, uplift and celebrate the lives, actions, and voices of incredible Upstanders at the schools that make up our Los Angeles Partner School Network (LAPSN). Having just published the series "A Network of Innovation," featuring thoughtful reflections from LAPSN educators on the meaning and practice of school community, student-centered classrooms, and units that thread together social-emotional learning, civic engagement and identity, this series of Upstander posts this week is the perfect complement. Many of these Upstanders were given the space and opportunities to explore the meaning of Upstanding, expand their Universe of Obligation and Choose to Participate by remarkable educators who live out Facing History's mission: we challenge teachers and students to stand up to bigotry and hate. 

Today's post features individual students who have made an impression upon the educators at their school. Tomorrow's post will highlight student groups and Thursday's final post will honor individual educators. We hope you'll read them all, follow the social media campaign at @FacingHistoryLA on Twitter and @FacingHistory on Instagram, and consider bringing these posts into your classroom or advisory (here are some teaching activities).

As a start, please enjoy a special message and short poem by Grammy-nominated spoken word artist Sekou Andrews. We see Upstanding as a broad spectrum of action: from small acts of kindness to heroic feats in the face of injustice, from individual steps taken to support peers to collective movements for social change. Sekou's poem provides dynamic description and inspiring interpretation to the critical role of Upstanders. 

HubSpot Video

2022 Individual Student Upstanders


Julia Francisco - LASGS-1Julia F.

Los Angeles School of Global Studies High School

Julia recently wrote an article for the school’s newspaper, The Global Studies Times, in which she bravely highlighted the issue of emotionally abusive relationships on campus. It has become a topic she deeply advocates for. She has also worked with the nonprofit Peace Over Violence to spread awareness about the dangers of emotionally abusive relationships. She is now a certified self-defense trainer with them. Overall, she has done a great job of centering and addressing mental health issues at the school. In addition, she is a true leader with the younger students in Advisory, building relationships with them and helping guide them toward positive choices.


AJR - Maria GonzalezMaria G.

Animo Jackie Robinson High School

Maria is a senior who has overcome the myriad challenges of being a recent immigrant student, displaying exceptional resiliency and a tremendous work ethic. During the pandemic, she worked full time, attended school online, cared for two small children and achieved a GPA over 3.5. When students returned to school in person, she persisted through challenges, but also supported her friends who were struggling. She is a Monarch Mentor, which means that she mentors younger English Language Learners, providing inspiration, guidance and tough love for them at their weekly meetings. She has a powerful voice, even though she is soft-spoken. She advocates for herself and others. She goes above and beyond what is expected by her teachers. It is hard to find a more dedicated student to her studies because she does not take education for granted. She seeks challenges and she speaks up when she feels ignored or treated unjustly. For her Student Action Project, she made a video in which she expressed her appreciation for her teachers, for supporting her and other Emerging Bilingual students through the years.


Lana AJR

Alana L.

Animo Jackie Robinson High School

Alana immediately took on leadership positions during her first year at Animo Jackie Robinson, which was her 11th grade year. She is a member of Associated Student Body, Link Crew, the volleyball team and Senior Committee. She is also the yearbook editor. She is truly a leader, but more importantly, she is an Upstander. She always steps up to help struggling students in her classes, and doesn't ask for anything in return. She has an aura about her, where students are drawn to her, and she is tremendously patient. She is soft-spoken, caring, committed and mature. She has overcome trauma in her life, and her life experiences have made her compassionate, empathetic and responsible. She likes to figure things out on her own, but when she can't, she is not afraid to ask for help and to advocate for others. Teachers look to her to be an unofficial assistant in class because she emanates the "mama bear" personality. She coordinates huge projects, such as the Blood Drive and fundraisers, and she is capable of getting other students to follow her lead.


AJR - TyWayne MooreTyWayne M.

Animo Jackie Robinson High School

TyWayne, a senior, is the spirit of Animo Jackie Robinson. He is kind, respectful, caring and funny. He cares about social justice and he speaks out against injustice. He is well-versed in current events and wants to discuss political issues. TyWayne has endured challenging experiences in school settings. Yet, when he came to AJR, he found a home, a safe space to flourish and grow, and a place where his opinions matter, so he learned to develop his perspectives and to speak his mind. As a Black man in this country, he is well-aware of the racism that persists in Los Angeles and the world, and he strives to his community a better place. He is a friend to all, and he is the definition of empathy. He lifts others up, he defends people effortlessly, even though that in and of itself is a challenge for many. At school, he is an Upstander, every single day, in little and big ways. He is truly an inspiration.


Elisha AJRElisha R.

Animo Jackie Robinson High School

Elisha is a tenth grade student at Animo Jackie Robinson. Last year, during distance learning, he was always attentive to others and willing to share positivity. During drama class he covered for a student who was struggling to perform and literally stood up from the audience in the middle of the show to perform his friend’s part, so that his partner could have her chance to perform. He is a great leader and stage manager in drama class. Teachers share that he is one of the most respectful, gracious and inclusive students in class. He reaches out to students who may be considered outside his friend group so that he can make new friends and help other students feel included. He is caring, curious, and hard-working. Always striving to grow and elevate others, students follow his lead.


Isabella R.Isabella_R

New Los Angeles
Middle School

This year, Isabella started the Queer Club with the support of her peers and a teacher, raising awareness and promoting inclusive actions in the school community to meet and discuss topics that impact LGBTQ+ youth. Many times, learning topics for the entire school community would include slideshows created by Isabella and her co-president. Queer Club was able to promote an all-campus Spirit Day in October and a Pronouns Awareness Week in February. During Pronouns Awareness Week, there were Advisory lessons on what it means to be inclusive and how to talk openly about one’s preferred pronouns. Isabella had the idea that all students could wear stickers with their pronouns. Everyone learned a lot about each other. She is a quiet leader with strong opinions and a big heart.


Yajaira - LASGSYajaira V.

Los Angeles School of Global Studies High School

Yajaira has demonstrated great leadership skills, determination, and encouragement throughout her four years at Global Studies. Yajaira has been a great help to the English Learner/Newcomer students and has provided encouragement to her 12th grade peers. She empathizes with many and looks for ways to motivate those who are currently struggling and has gone out of her way to bring a positive outlook to her Advisory. While she has experienced great loss, she has also gotten back up on her feet to then motivate others via Zoom, chat and text. She is a peer tutor and mentors many of the students in translating work and class assignments. She goes out of her way to make them feel safe and supported and part of the Global Studies community as they begin making a home in L.A.. She finds joy in helping many who are behind in their work or simply need a push forward in their struggles as she stands by them while they may feel overwhelmed. Yajaira has become extra empathetic with students who are going through anxiety and depression and offers them strategies she's learned for herself from her network of support and resources. She has become an amazing leader because she has led our school community with her heart.


About the Los Angeles Partnership Schools Network

Facing History's mission is to promote young people's development to become humane, informed and engaged citizens. This work takes its deepest form at schools in the Partnership Schools Network, where students take several Facing History courses during their middle or high school years. As part of this network, schools embrace Facing History's core themes as foundational to their schools' mission and weave Facing History content and teaching strategies throughout the school: in classes, advisory groups, faculty meetings, and school community activities.

Topics: Upstanders, Upstander, Action, lapsn, Upstander Celebration

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