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Student Voice at UAM

Britney Vasquez
One of many posters around UAM floors

 At UAM High School, student voices are crucial in shaping our community. With active participation from both students and staff, UAM stands out for its commitment to advocacy and longing for change. However, opinions differ on whether the school truly supports student voices and spaces. Exploring the importance of student space and voice, highlights efforts to create an inclusive and empowering environment. By examining diverse perspectives, one can understand how UAM is fostering a collaborative future while addressing questions about its support for student advocacy.

As a result of talking to staff and students, we see an overall different perspective as how we view student voice at UAM. Student voice is crucial to build an environment of free speech.

In a recent interview, Melina Benmergui, a 10th grader at UAM, shared her insights on student advocacy. Reflecting on the school’s progress, she stated, “The student council has been a driving force in making positive changes around here.” Melina also discussed her plans for a female empowerment group, urging fellow students to join: “Your voice matters, and together, we can make a difference.”

When asked about the importance of student voices, Melina emphasized, “I sometimes think that students become a little afraid. It is difficult in doing so. However, I believe it to be very helpful. I’m happy because student voices matter, especially since you’ll enjoy school every day and be taught with by those most experience in everything. It was like going to school, where nobody wants their performance to go down. Therefore, you had better ensure that you’re content at the school you’re at.”

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Melina shared her experience with the “Day of Silence” for LGBTQ+ rights: “Silence is a powerful form of communication. It was eye-opening to see the impact it had on our school community.”

When asked about raising awareness, she emphasized the importance of student voice : “We need to start talking about the issues that matter and encourage others to join the conversation.” Melina’s dedication serves as an inspiration, showcasing the power of student voices in creating positive change at UAM.

In an additional interview, Teisha Wilson, a senior at UAM, shared her insights on student advocacy and the importance of student voices. Reflecting on impactful student movements, she stated, “I would say the BSU (Black Student Union) when we held multiple students accountable for the N-word usage because it forced everyone to have uncomfortable conversations, but it was needed. It forced advisors to talk about students’ race and ethnicity and the importance behind knowing that.”

Art mural students such as Teisha Wilson, A senior, participated in the creation of this mural. (Britney Vasquez)

When asked about the importance of student voices, Teisha emphasized, “Student voices matter, especially because we’re the ones experiencing the day-to-day realities of school life. Our input can help shape a better environment for everyone.”

Regarding her involvement in raising awareness within the school, Teisha shared, “I help others become aware of what’s going on at school by using my voice and resources around me, which can help spark up conversations and bring more awareness towards something.”

Teisha’s dedication serves as an inspiration, showcasing the power of student voices in creating positive change at UAM. By addressing critical issues and fostering dialogue, she expresses the impact students can have in shaping a more inclusive and supportive school community.

In an interview with Ms. Vice, a dedicated teacher at UAM, shared her experiences with student advocacy. She highlighted her involvement in events such as Autism Acceptance Month, Glisten Day of Silence, Heritage Month celebrations, the sit-in for transgender rights, and the walkout about abortion laws.

When discussing the school’s support for student advocacy, Ms. Vice noted, “The school tries to listen to what students want to see happen. We’re small enough that we can do most of the ideas students come up with, but it requires finding the right people to coordinate.”

Ms. Vice emphasized the impact of these movements, saying, “It’s allowing students to voice their opinions and discuss issues not often talked about. Your voice is important because it changes our ways of thinking and pushes boundaries.”

Ms. Vice’s dedication to student advocacy highlights the importance of student voices in creating positive change at UAM. While acknowledging the need for improvement, Ms. Vice expressed hope for the future: “I hope that students make their voices more known because it’s important. You need to know how to use them properly and with meaning.” 



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About the Contributor
Britney Vasquez
Britney is a senior at Urban Assembly School for Media Studies. Currently the Co-Editor in Chief and Web Designer. Britney is creative, expressive, loving, passionate and goal oriented. My hobbies are fashion, volleyball, sewing clothing and anything that’s creative I’ll latch on to it! An interesting fact most of my inspiration for fashion some from Anime shows that I love.
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