Students from across the WVXU listening area and beyond reflected on the past year of catastrophe/metamorphosis in the Democracy & Me 2021 Student Voices Competition. These 8th– to 12th-graders submitted a total of 158 diverse entries, ranging from thought-provoking essays, to powerful poetry, to breathtaking visual artwork and more. Using these various mediums as vehicles to speak their truths, these young students considered the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other cataclysmic events, within our nation, within their communities, and within their own lives as well.
This was the third year for our Student Voices Competition, sponsored by the Charles H. Dater Foundation. As you listen to these top-scoring pieces, narrated by their creators—Djibril Dembele, Addison Thacker, Molly Moser, Tanvi Rakesh, Jessica Kang, Zoe Wooten, Abdul Arnaout, Sara Walls, Audrey Zelinski, Lily Franks, and Addi Schultz—we invite you to explore more student work at DemocracyAndMe.org.
Special thanks to all the educators who encouraged their students to participate in the contest, and to this year’s esteemed judges: WVXU staffers Jenell Walton, Tana Weingartner, Jolene Almendarez, Selena Reder, and Becca Costello; Cincinnati Public Radio board members/advisers Eva Grandison and the Hon. Michael Newman; Streetvibes editor Gabriela Godinez; Fourthwall Youth Studios director Frank O’Farrell; Elementz executive director Tom Kent; Bethany Pelle at Kennedy Heights Arts Center; Mary VanAusdall from the local League of Women Voters; and Democracy & Me’s educational coordinator Dr. David Childs, Associate Professor of Social Studies Education at Northern Kentucky University. Joining the Democracy & Me interns in awarding the Peer Prize was Anabel Villanueva, one of last year’s winners and a graduate of Walnut Hills H.S.
Podcast introduction by Jordan Polk, University of Cincinnati, Democracy & Me intern.
Episode artwork: “Together We Rise,” an award-winning creative entry by Molly Moser, a Cincinnati homeschooler entering her senior year.