For the majority of their first semester this school year, Zachary High students in Erin Fink’s American History classes labored over an extensive civic engagement project. Based on Mahatma Gandhi’s principle, “Be the change you want to see in the world," students were given the task of making a change that would better the world.
The classes were able to form groups and pick one aspect to transform to better the Earth. Fink gave the students free range to pick the change they would like to make and provided examples of problems varying from world literacy to pollution in Baton Rouge. She used the project to demonstrate that taking small steps is the only way to overcome big problems like climate change and world hunger.
After each group's topic was approved by the teacher, Fink instructed students to carry out at least two actions that would help to better their issue. Many of the students were enthusiastic about making an impact on the world, even if it would only be a minor one, and eagerly put forth the effort needed to make a change in or around the Zachary community.
Groups worked on projects to inform the public about the effects of non-point pollution on Main Street, raise awareness for breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and offered help with oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, students volunteered in animal shelters and nursing homes, walked a 5K and wrote articles or produced broadcasts for Zachary High’s media to present to the rest of the school. Students who actively participated in Fink’s program to change the world felt very proud and victorious in their quest to help others, and hope that their deeds made a difference.