7th graders 'Combat the Silence' through words and action

(Jackson, Wyo.) - At the beginning of the school year, all of the 7th graders at Jackson Hole Middle School were presented with the quote by Martin Luther King Jr., "There comes a time when silence is betrayal." "We talked about what that silence can mean -- indifference, apathy, fear. Why don't we stand up to problems and issues in the world?" said Kelly Kaiser, JHMS Language Arts teacher. This was the theme for the students all year and at the culmination, the kids choose a problem that was meaningful to them to research, write about and work to combat. "The topic could be anything that they can relate to and want to combat that problem," said Jennifer Marlar, 7th grade Language Arts teacher. "The idea that we are trying to instill in them is that age doesn't matter and that they have a voice." "We have kids doing anything from ocean pollution, child soldiers, nuclear energy, and more," said Kaiser. "These are issues that adults are grappling with." At the end of each essay, there is a "Guts Factor," which is a call-to-action where the students actually do something to combat the problem. According to Kaiser, the only criteria for the "Guts Factor" part of the essay is they have to be scared. Some are raising money, some are creating art, one student did a poetry reading, etc. In fact, all students advocated for a charity in their call-to-action. They collected $1 donations from each student and the winning article's charity (from a class vote) earned the class' donation. "Put yourself out there, take a risk, because if you want to change the world it's not easy," said Kaiser. This week, watch for #CombattheSilenceJH for several of the students' essays. *Feature Photo: Local JHMS 7th Graders. Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news