Raise Your Voice!

Credit Hamza Aden

We want to know what matters to young people today. We've all got an issue, a belief, an idea that drives us forward, something that really matters. Raise Your Voice! is Maine Public's online platform for ideas and perspectives from students across the state. We reach a broad audience interested in education, supporting young people, and especially, in hearing what today's youth have to say.

Schools Need to Encourage Student Leaders

Dec 12, 2016

Full of so much promise and potential, student leaders play an important role in today’s society.

We all need role models and guidance to make it in the world, and true leaders are people who participate, collaborate, and are mature enough to overcome obstacles. Those are only three of many characteristics that make up a leader. When some people face challenges, many tend to shut down, but real leaders can demonstrate how to face these challenges and even cope with the stresses that may follow.

There is a form of leadership in everyone, but it just needs to be encouraged by others. In schools, that encouragement can happen by allowing students to develop and share their opinions, engage in conversations and class discussions, and contribute their ideas to the life of a school. Being a student leader is so important, as it shows one can be trustworthy, adaptable, courageous, and willing to take the necessary risks to achieve goals. True leaders will not settle for less.

Teens Have High Hopes for New President

Dec 8, 2016

America has elected its next president, and on January 20, the 45th president, the leader of the "Free World," steps into the Oval Office with a multitude of issues in front of him.

Between January 20 and April 29, President Donald J. Trump will work to achieve his promises during his first 100 days in office. Like other elections, most voters selected either a Republican or a Democratic candidate. Eligible voters voiced their opinions as the younger generations watched.

In the U.S., young people play an important role in the political process. Although not eligible to vote, they drive many of the decisions that eligible voters make. Many of the president’s programs will directly affect youth - both today and in the future. The decisions made in the first 100 days will have long-term impacts on this next generation. Further, these crucial decisions will be remembered by these young people as they move to adulthood - all part of the latest president’s legacy.

Why We Perform: That Special Connection

Dec 5, 2016

I have always loved music.

It’s an amazing tool for so many people. An escape or happy place, it’s an opportunity to reach for the stars and strive for perfection. My personal specialty in music is choral singing, and I have sung in so many groups throughout high school. They have taught me so much of what I know.

In choral singing, your body is the only thing you need to be successful. You do not need a synthetic instrument to make gorgeous music. Instead, you are born with what you need to share that ever so special moment with the audience, that moment where both sides in a concert, the choir and the audience, are proud of the hard work that has been done and can enjoy the incredible work of choral singing.

Joining choir was one of the most influential decisions of my life. I have always believed that things happen for a reason, and it seems like so many of the amazing moments in my life required so many details to come together. Choir teaches a student everything. It’s taught me the values of discipline and perseverance. A choral singer must practice their part, pitch, range, vowel shaping, choral tone, music theory, and then practice, practice, practice even more. If you’re a choral singer, I’m sure that sounds familiar.

Early Start Makes School a Sleepy Challenge

Dec 5, 2016

On most school days, teens across the United States sit in classrooms, heads on hands, slowly dozing into a dreamy abyss.

All students have had the feeling of a heavy head, eyelids slowly fluttering closed while listening to a teacher. Being a teenager myself, I have witnessed many students suffering from sleep deprivation. Every night, students struggle to get a normal amount of sleep. This translates to a daily struggle in the classroom. The problem happens throughout the day, but especially in the morning. Students lose focus and have a hard time paying attention. A sedentary classroom is a perfect opportunity to grab a few minutes of much needed sleep.

Sleep-deprived teens have a hard time focusing while in school, but a lack of awareness in school is not the only problem created by a shortage of sleep. Missing sleep during the week along with bad sleep habits on the weekend presents teens with a host of problems. Young adults are still in the growing process and need enough sleep to regenerate both their minds and bodies. According to some of the latest research, teens who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to engage in risky and unhealthy behaviors, including smoking, drinking, drug use, and fighting, among others.

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