Spring Student Opportunities

Posted by Mary Hendra on March 8, 2016

There are a lot of student opportunities at this time of year which could be engaging for students in a Facing History classroom. Here are a few that have come our way. Have you heard of others? Post them below to share with other teachers!

As part of Facing History and Ourselves’ second annual Facing History Together Student Essay Contest, “Student Voices: To Kill a Mockingbird in Today’s World,” middle and high school students across the U.S. have the opportunity to win individual and classroom prizes up to $2,500.  

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout Finch, a young white girl growing up in Alabama in the 1930s, is forced to question her community's spoken and unspoken rules when her father agrees to defend a black man falsely accused of a crime. She and her brother, Jem, struggle to define their identities in relationship to the values of their small, segregated Southern town.

How has the community you've grown up in influenced the person you are today? Has there been a moment when your sense of self has come into conflict with the norms in your community?"

 Click here for more information about the contest.



The Autry Museum of the American West is holding its inaugural student visual arts exhibition, a program of Autry Classroom Curators. This event helps celebrate student-driven research and creativity while simultaneously providing insight from and access to educators and professionals in the visual arts. This year’s theme, Visions of California, encourages students to learn and think about the different ways that people have envisioned California across its lengthy history, while also offering their own visions of this place that we all call home. Submissions due April 1st, and the exhibition will be April 24th. For more information, click here.


The New York Times Learning Network is holding its third annual student editorial contest, featuring short, evidence-based persuasive essays where teenagers take a stand on an issue and attempt to convince readers of their point of view. Deadline: March 29, 2016. Click here to learn more and submit.

As teachers know, the persuasive essay has long been a staple of high school education, but the Common Core standards seem to have put evidence-based argumentative writing on everybody’s agenda.

You couldn’t ask for a more real-world example of the genre than the classic newspaper editorial.”


Since 2013, the Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program has been turning high school students into actively engaged citizens in their communities. After participating in the summer program, former students have gone on to receive such accomplishments as scholarship awards, grant funding for their projects, recognition in school and local newspapers, and leadership roles in various clubs and organizations. 39ronaldreagan

This five day program will develop leadership skills with a goal of accomplishing the following task: identify a problem in the community and create an extensive Leadership Action Plan which details a pathway for addressing that problem. To help them create their Leadership Action Plan, students will explore concepts of effective communication (The Great Communicator), optimism (it CAN be done!), and informed decision making (Governor and President). Click here for more information and to apply.


YallwestYALLWest is bringing over 100 authors to Santa Monica for the largest young adult book festival on the west coast on April 30 - May 1, 2016. The festival aims to bring young people from across Los Angeles together for:

2 days of panels, book signings, food trucks, bad jokes, rock 'n' roll, killer photo ops & general geeky debauchery."

Educators wishing to bring a group of students can generally qualify for free tickets and even bus transportation to the festival! Click here to find out more.

Topics: Choosing to Participate, Los Angeles, Student Work, Upstander

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