Making a Difference

Students seek to make society more inclusive.

Sophia Ploucha, Editor In-Chief

After the death of George Floyd, the United States issues regarding racial injustice have been magnified and students are taking a stand.

The classes of recently graduated and current students at Hoover High School have risen up in order to protest and organize against current issues affecting the United States.

Within these groups of young activists is Claire Kormanec, a Hoover High School senior, who has helped to organize and work toward a cause.

“There are so many little injustices in places we don’t even think to look,” Kormanec stated, “This movement is about recognizing those injustices and doing something about them big or small.”

Kormanec has been organizing with other Hoover students in order to adjust not only national scale racial injustice but also local inequities as well.

“Learning environments are the single most important place where we can stop these racial injustices in our country,” Kormanec said, “If we are creating an environment in which every student is welcome and all histories and cultures are being represented correctly that is the starting point for racial justice in America.”

Kormanec and other Hoover students made the decision to approach the school board in regards to racial injustices in our district.

“I am really hopeful for long term changes in our district to make a long term impact.” Kormanec said.

The reason behind students’ work in activism can range from just a want to make change to personal impact as well.

“All of the people who go out and want change in our country and want injustice to end,” Kormanec stated, “That’s who I think about when I think about what this movement means.”

Alongside Claire Kormanec, Hoover graduate of the class of 2020 Aaliyah Kinnard has also had major involvement in opportunities of activism in the North Canton community.

“As a young black woman growing in America, I was thrown into activism as a middle schooler.” Kinnard stated, “There were many things around me that made me uncomfortable and feel like I could not fit in the society I was amidst.”

Kinnard has worked and continues to work towards a better future for people of color in America.

“I will stand up for the rest of my life to right the wrongs that have clung to so many people for too long.” Kinnard said, “After a while, it starts to drain you but I know it doesn’t have to.”

Kinnard has worked closely with other North Canton students in order to further her efforts to bring about racial justice.

“After the many deaths of our black brothers and sisters that have occurred this past year and before, we wanted to not just be a part of the change in another city but do our part at home!” Kinnard stated, “You have to start somewhere and this encouraged us to break our silence in North Canton.”

Kinnard also believes that the current generation of students in America are the most likely to make a huge impact on fundamental injustices.

“Young people are the future, period point blank.” Kinnard said, “We live in a country that was founded on wrongdoings and many corrupt systems; the difference is that we have evolved enough to not take it anymore.”

Alongside many others, Kinnard believes that continuing in activism is the best way to go.

“I could never see myself not fighting for what’s right, whether it’s my community that’s been wronged or another.” Kinnard said, “Standing hand in hand with peer activists and standing up against the corrupt world makes me feel like I can do anything.”

Both Kinnard and Kormanec worked together with other North Canton community members to directly speak to superintendent Jeff Wendorf.

“We had a meeting with several students and a couple of parents just to talk about where we were what we needed to do and so on,” Wendorf stated, “We have a pretty good plan.”

Wendorf agreed to make significant steps forward in improving inclusivity at Hoover High School.

“We had all of our certified staff do an hour and a half professional development on PD[Professional Development] day before school started,” Wendorf said, “They participated in online training.”

Alongside staff training, the district is making steps towards fundamental changes to how Hoover students learn about marginalized groups.

“We have a curriculum review in place,” Wendorf stated, “We are looking at our curriculum and are asking our teachers to make sure we aren’t just doing black history month and that it’s woven through our curriculum throughout the year.”

Lastly, Hoover is looking to implement new courses dedicated to education based around cultural diversity.

“The history department, the social studies department and several others are looking at some courses on diversity.” Wendorf said

Alongside all of these changes Hoover is pushing toward a more inclusive environment.

“We can’t be a leading organization for learning as long as people don’t feel comfortable or don’t feel valued,” Wendorf said, “So we have to eliminate that through inspiring students and impact our community.”

One department working towards implementing these new changes is the Hoover english department.

English teacher Gretchen Leckie-Ewing has been making steps in her classroom to create a more inclusive environment.

“In my own classroom I’ve decided to do literature circles this year in my junior class to allow them to choose their literature,” Leckie-Ewing said, “I put several choices on their list that had protagonists of color.”

Alongside this, Leckie-Ewing and the Hoover english department are working toward implementing works written by people of color within their curriculum.

“There’s so much good new poetry from people of color,” Leckie-Ewing stated, “It’s a good place to start.”

Leckie-Ewing believes that the current curriculum needs to be more inclusive of stories told by people of color.

“To Kill A Mockingbird is not good enough,” Leckie-Ewing said, “The protagonist is a little white girl, the author was a little white girl, that’s not good enough and we can’t let ourselves settle.”

Leckie-Ewing also believes that literature has the power to bring students together and gain a further understanding of the lives of others.

“We can see lives that are not like ours and understand them,” Leckie-Ewing stated, “Or we can see lives that are like ours that help us feel valuable in the world.”

Overall, the fight for racial equality by students within the North Canton community has created wide-spread impact within our district and activists plan to keep working toward a better future.

“Who wouldn’t want to fight for the rights of their peers?” Kinnard stated, “We have come so far, so why end the fight when it’s just getting started?”