Kevin Perez

Reagan Early College High School
Austin, Texas

My name is Kevin Perez I am a senior at Reagan Early College High School. I’m excited to tell you about the civic change this project has made to my community and to me as a person.

As a person coming from an unaware perspective on civics, by working with my teammates and democracy coaches, my view on change has grown to a new level. Before, I was unaware on all sorts of things such as laws, elections, and civic responsibility. Today, all these things matter to me because important decisions affect me and those who I love and care for, and in the future I want to get involved in impacting those decisions.

In my government class, our whole class decided on the renovation of restrooms at Reagan High School. The restrooms aren’t well maintained, there are exposed pipes, and some stalls don’t have doors. We felt this was important because everyone goes to the restroom and we wanted to ensure the hygiene and safety of all students. We wrote a proposal that will hopefully motivate the administration to make necessary changes to all bathrooms on the west side of campus. Included in this proposal is survey data, picture evidence, testimonials, and the price quote for the necessary renovation.

We attempted to contact our district council member, without success. However, we did leave many follow up voice messages. In addition, we consulted with our AP in charge of operations. He was surprisingly unaware of the flaws in the student restrooms and eager to ask questions and learn more about our concerns. The most shocking thing we learned about our research was how impossible it was to find out when was the last time the restrooms were updated. We hope to encourage the administration to find this answer and take action.

I will use my knowledge and experience from this project to affect younger generations after me to raise awareness and speak out on their concerns because you can affect other lives with your voice. As a senior, I feel this is important because younger students at Reagan should have the opportunity to speak up and make a change for everyone.

Kimberly Ashby

Elgin High School
Austin, TX

I would like to thank Generation Citizen for this award. I am so excited to be here…in fact, I’m missing my brothers’ wedding to be here for this event!

Our class decided that our community issue would be pollution. When my teacher chose to break the class into four separate groups to work on this project I was confused. I did not really know what he was talking about. I was so confused at the beginning and did not know what to focus our project on.  However when the light bulb went off and I finally understood I decided to “spread the joy”, so I went behind my teachers back and started working with the other groups just to get the other groups moving. With a little enthusiasm we were off to the races. However, we did hit a few bumps in the road. We ended up changing the focus of our project twice before deciding to research Environmental Issues.

That is when I discovered that Elgin had an Adopt-A-Street program. I contacted them and got us a guest speaker, Ms. Amy Miller. She explained to us how it works and motivated us to join hers, as well as to start one of our own at our school. This has been a team effort, not by just us 5 but the entire class and though we have bumped heads and changed our minds on many occasions, I feel we have come up with a strong, inclusive solution to our problem.

I have been able to overcome many obstacles to be here today. Many of the group members had many differences and many had some heated discussion, it was not always pleasant and it was never easy. I often had to work alone, as did my classmates and we often fought, but in the end I am proud of what we accomplished together.

Personally this  project is important to me because as a senior at Elgin High School, I am tired of seeing other students littering the hallways with trash. Some student just drop trash as if others do not matter. Then people walk past papers and other trash on the ground and do not even attempt to pick it up. One time I even told a freshman to pick up what he had dropped and he told me that it was the janitor’s job. “THE JANITOR’S JOB?” I could not believe that’s what he had just said, so I decided to pick it up myself.

However this is not a perfect world and in an effort to make sure our school stays clean, and people take responsibility for keeping trash off the floor, my group and I have created an organization called,  The Green Team.  The plan is to have different school organizations adopt hallways in the school and make sure they are staying clean and keeping trash off the ground.

I want to thank my government teacher Coach Michael, my group members, my classmates, the nice people at the Adopt-A-Street Program, our hardworking custodial staff and my parents for their support.

Thank you.