BAGUIO CITY – Groups of Baguio City High School students want their voices to be heard and are carrying out initiatives to advance their cause. As young citizens who want to make a difference, the Grade 10 Science, Technology and Engineering Program (STEP) students have establish groups and embark on different advocacies to address issues that confront them.
From helping educate fellow students on the value of positivism, reinforcing happiness and fostering harmony among students to conveying information on bullying, littering, gender equality etc. and promoting the school to the community, the students are willing to put out extra effort when there’s a larger gain at stake.
Armed with passion and with their vision of helping society resolve issues, some of the groups enthusiastically roam around the campus during break time wearing shirts bearing slogans or quotes about their advocacy. Some volunteer to distribute flyers around the community, knock on doors with petitions, write letters, invite friends to join and gain allies and seek support for their advocacy. A number of groups on the other hand are utilizing the internet as a major avenue for getting their vision and message out to the public.
These proactive adolescents revealed they are embarking on a unified effort to engage, educate and activate fellow youth in promoting systemic change through advocacy. Gianne Alexandria Marinas, one of the students said, “None of this is easy, but the rewards can be great, and can define dedication to the good of the community.” Gianne has made a commitment to motivate her fellow students to care and love the place we live by keeping it clean. She and her peers pick litters around the campus every break time to show others that maintaining cleanliness is everybody’s responsibility.
As to the time and effort it entails to see an advocacy achieve its goals, another student Cara Dominique Parayno has this message to share, “Most change is incremental – small step by small step – and takes longer than you expect it to. You have to continue your advocacy even when it seems that nothing is happening. It’s often very difficult to tell just when and why an issue seeps into public consciousness. Just keep at it – you never know when you’ll have an impact.”
Rose Melody Flores, the Head Teacher of the STE Program, lauded the students for their volunteerism and dedication. She pointed out that efforts like these are difficult to sustain, but they’re not futile. Hashing out differences and coming to agreement about the endpoint and the goals of an advocacy effort may be difficult, but it will pay huge dividends in the long run. Advocacy isn’t a one-time thing – it’s forever.
By Tess B. Macasinag