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Announcing EL Education’s 2023 Student Advisory Cohort

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    EL Education

This year, we received over 100 applications from some of the nation’s most brilliant students, all eager to join EL Education’s Student Advisory Council and make the world a better place for students nationwide.

Our pool of applicants brought a dazzling array of skills and experiences to the table; these students are slam poets, science fiction writers, coders creating original video games, mental health awareness advocates, environmental justice warriors, and so much more. It was challenging for our Student Advisory Council alums and EL Education staff to narrow the applications, but we are pleased to announce the selection of seven new SAC members to join our existing members.

Meet our 2023 Student Advisory Council cohort and hear how they’re planning to make the most of their two-year commitment to educational excellence:

Ava Pittman Headshot

Ava Pittman

Ava Pittman (she/her) is a 9th-grader at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School (MELS) in Queens, NY. Ava has served as the co-president and co-founder of the Black Affinity Group at their school and as a student ambassador. As a young, Black, queer woman, Ava joined the school’s Speech Team, where she debates topics like Blackness and how Black people navigate society. Ava is eager to use her platform as a Student Advisory Council member to “ensure that everyone has a voice and we are all equals.

Christopher Tate Headshot

Christopher Tate

Christopher Tate (he/him) is a 6th-grader at Polaris Charter Academy in Chicago, IL. He describes himself as, “a leader, critical thinker, and well-rounded student.” He is a Critical Thinker Light Leader. Light Leader is an honor given to Polaris students who have shown exceptional leadership in one of the Five Points of Polaris: Integrity, Compassion, Explorer, Critical Thinker, and Active Citizen. As a Student Advisory Council member, Christopher will “be there to help solve problems and come up with different solutions.”

Clark Pittman Headshot

Clark Pittman

Clark Pittman (she/her) is a 6th-grader at Explore PK-8 in Thornton, CO. Clark is a published writer and was a keynote speaker at EL Education’s 2022 National Conference, speaking on inclusion and identity. It has been said that “Clark knows how to both give space and take up space.” Clark is a Student Council Member at Explore and will use her time as a Student Advisory Council member to “make school a better place to learn in.”

Justin Torres Headshot

Justin Torres

Justin Torres (he/him) is a 10th-grader at Brooklyn Collaborative School in Brooklyn, NY. Justin is a member of Integrate NYC, which advocates for better integrated, safer schools for New York City students. He is a poet, a student ambassador, a member of the school’s student government, and a skilled social organizer. Justin recently helped to collect nearly 1,000 holiday gifts and necessities for an organization called Children of Promise, which works with the children of people experiencing incarceration. As a Student Advisory Council member, Justin looks forward to “broadening my horizons” and using his perseverance and resilience to make an even bigger difference.

Khadijah Hilmy Headshot

Khadijah Hilmy

Khadijah Hilmy (she/her) is a 10th-grader at The Greene School in West Greenwich, RI. Khadijah’s passion for environmental justice led her to join the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association (RIEEA), where she helped secure a grant to bring younger students to her school to learn about climate change, composting, microorganisms, trees, and advocating for the Natural World. She appreciates how “interconnected” the EL Education K-8 Language Arts curriculum is with the environment and conservationism and will spend her time on the Student Advisory Council “advocating for the best of all possible worlds.”

Saniya Cunningham Headshot

Saniya Cunningham

Saniya Cunningham (she/her) is a 7th-grader at Kuumba Academy Charter School in Wilmington, DE. Saniya is an empath whose connection with her community and peer “fuels my passion to want to make things better.” She is a prolific writer, writing blogs for EL Education and science-fiction novels in her spare time. Saniya was a keynote speaker at EL Education’s 2022 National Conference, speaking on perseverance and reminding people, “you can be as great as you want to be.” Saniya will use her time on the Student Advisory Council to continue to empower people, using her “background knowledge, sympathy, and my bond to my community to continue to contribute to a world of good.”

Savannah Doss Headshot 1

Savannah Doss

Savannah Doss (she/her) is a 7th-grader at Orange County Educational Arts Academy in Santa Ana, CA. Savannah is a leader in the Girl Scouts as well as a member of the Student Leadership Community and Student Council at her school. She has received multiple awards for her bilingualism, speaking both Spanish and English. She is a student-athlete and a member of the Speech and Debate Club. Savannah knows that her peers “might feel misunderstood because others don’t understand what you're going through or how people treat you or see you,” and will use her time as a Student Advisory Council member to ensure that every voice is heard.