The capstone theology course for the seniors at Stuart is Faith and Social Justice. This course invites the seniors to reflect on their four years of theology and make a deliberate application of what they have reflected on and learned. The Faith and Social Justice course culminates in the Invisible Issues project. This social justice project exemplifies Sacred Heart Goal 3: A Social Awareness Which Impels To Action.
For this project students form groups to create a simulated nonprofit organization that addresses a lesser known issue of human suffering i.e., an invisible issue.
After learning about the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching, seniors selected an issue to address. Throughout the trimester, each group conducted research, drafted grant proposals, created budgets, designed flyers and posters, logos, video loops and formal presentations.
On Wednesday, May 19, the seniors shared their formal presentations before a virtual panel of professionals who evaluated the viability of the grant proposals, asked questions and shared feedback with the students. The judges provided expertise in the areas of fundraising, evaluating grant proposals and running nonprofits and scored the presentations based on teamwork, clarity of the mission, the group’s expansion plan, and many other factors. The panel was present virtually and many of the presenters were remote as well. This made the presentations a bit of a challenge this year, but the students came through and really impressed the panelists. One panelist summed it up with the remark that the students were better prepared and more professional than other grant presenters they have encountered. She added that she found herself forgetting that these were high school students.
On Thursday, May 20, the groups set up in 12 different classrooms to pitch their organization to Upper School students, faculty and staff, who then voted on the most convincing presentation through an online survey developed by Ms. Alicia Testa (Technology Innovation Specialist and Upper School Computer Science Teacher). Based on the points earned from the panelists’ rankings and votes by students and teachers from the Fair, the First Place, Second Place, and Third Place winners were determined.
Congratulations to the winning Invisible Issues project teams:
Third Place: Nirapada* (Penelope Luchs, Jasmine Lewis, Lavina Mital, and Catherine Martin) focuses on the Bangladeshi youth forced to work in the fast fashion garment manufacturing plants. They provide free education to set up the next generation for success. This education includes basic computer programming with the goal of preparing these young people for jobs in the IT industry. Their organization also provides resources to help the young people recover from past trauma. *Nirapada means safety in Bengali.
Second Place: Hand 2 Hand (Lia Bull-Krieg, Vivian Chen, and Allison Tarbotton): aims to bring justice to missing and murdered Indigenous women along Highway 16 in British Columbia (Canada). Their organization accomplishes this fight for justice through community education, mental health and healing resources, lobbying for the creation of emergency response programs, and the reform of law enforcement measures.
First Place: REACH (Anna Dawson, Brooke Morales, Shirley Xie, Ronnie Zhang, and Holly Zhuang). REACH (Romani Education Access Charity) strives to optimize the education of Romani children (ages 4-11) who have recently immigrated to the Manchester area of the United Kingdom by establishing connections with Romani families and aiding UK schools and communities in promoting integration and inclusion.
The winning team is awarded $500 to donate to a charity that aligns with their research. REACH has decided to donate to the ROMA Education Fund.
The fund's website is: