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Student Task Force spreads awareness

Community: Valencia and Canyon high school chapters use last advocacy event to host essay, art and v

Posted: June 15, 2010 9:44 p.m.
Updated: June 16, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Students from the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force poses with the Santa Clarita City Council. The young human rights advocates furthered their activism on April 27 at City Hall, where they asked the City Council to adopt the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a symbolic declaration to lead the community in the protection and promotion...

 

The Canyon and Valencia high school chapters of the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force wrapped up its last advocacy event of the year with the "Human Rights for All Children" essay, art and video contest, which concluded in February. William S. Hart Union High School District students were given the option to base their entries on one of three different prompts related to children's rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The 91 student submissions were judged by various teachers and student leaders. The winners were announced during an awards ceremony on April 22 at the Santa Clarita Activities Center.

In the junior high school essay division, the winners included William Oh of La Mesa (third place), Cole Matthess of Rancho Pico (second place) and Alexandra Ongjoco of La Mesa (first place). The creative writing awards were presented to Andrew DeSantis of Rio Notre (third place), Noor Maran of Rancho Pico (second place) and Nadia Langdon of Rio Notre (first place). Rebecca Luna (third place), Breezy Thompson (second place) and Minna Flores (first place), all from La Mesa, swept the junior high art category.

The essay winners in the high school division included Shih-Hsuan Chiu of Valencia (third place), Kristopher Kaufman Canyon (second place) and Megan Scherich of Canyon (first place). Canyon High students Kaela Cayama (third place), Rebecca Murphy (second place) and Kimberly Ann Stephenson (first place) topped the Creative Writing category. Wendy Cerda (third place), Kelsie Marmon (second place), and Aaron Hafemeister (first place), all from Canyon, won the Competitive Art division. Austin Allan of Valencia High captured first place in the Video category with a provocative film relating to violent acts committed against women.

The top-three winners in each category were awarded medals along with certificates of participation. In addition, winners in both the written and art categories will have their work published in a book titled "Human Rights for All Children."

The Student Task Force members sought the audience's assistance in signing a petition to Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, to support of upcoming state legislation S.B. 399, The Fair Sentences for Youth Act.

The young human rights advocates furthered their activism on April 27 at City Hall, where they asked the Santa Clarita City Council to adopt the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a symbolic declaration to lead the community in the protection and promotion of children's rights. The council recently approved offering its support of the resolution.

"In order for solutions to be made on a global level, they must first be made at the local level," said task force member Kristopher Kaufman. "This is our community's opportunity to make a difference that reaches farther than the safe haven of Santa Clarita."

Megan Scherich is a senior at Canyon High School and co-president of the Student Task Force.

 

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