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Bigger and Better: Meet EL Education’s NEW 2021 Student Advisory Council Members

Every day in schools across the country, EL Education students are stepping up to build the stronger, healthier communities of their dreams. Whether they are eleventh-graders holding a food justice symposium with lawmakers to get access to healthy food in their neighborhoods, or seventh-graders leading courageous conversations with city council members, clergy, police, and citizens to address issues of race and police violence, EL Education students are proving that kids can lead complex, sophisticated, and game-changing work. Our newest Student Advisory Council members are no exception.

EL Education’s Student Advisory Council has doubled in size, welcoming six new members, and becoming stronger and more diverse. With students ranging from seventh grade to post high school alumni, the council is poised to build on the Council’s significant positive impact achieved since the group’s inception.

Just six months in, the initial Student Advisory Council members created and shared ingenious plans for large national events like Better World Day and Virtual Summit, steered EL Education strategies for our new school Credential, and influenced audiences large and small. The council’s work on identity and belonging has helped bring visibility to LGBTQAI+ experiences, authentic Native American perspectives, disability rights, and anti-racist efforts. Now bigger and better, EL Education’s Student Advisory Council is ready to lead more consequential change.

Meet the new students and hear what drives them to lead:


Marissa Barnwell

Eighth-grade student, Meadow Glen Middle School, Lexington, SC

“I want to help make schools spread empowerment to all students. Issues with inequality and lack of diversity in the school system resonate with me most since I’ve experienced this firsthand. I want to contribute to make schools all over the nation safe places for students to feel included, regardless of their background.”

Marissa Barnwell, Eighth-grade student, Meadow Glen Middle School, Lexington, SC

Chelsea Dargba

Eighth-grade student, Two Rivers Public Charter School, Washington, DC

“I know that I will never give up on myself, which means I will never give up on my commitment to our community. I am the type of leader that is open-minded to all the possibilities and makes sure that I don't take an opportunity for granted. I know I can inspire other people and be ready for any challenge coming my way.”

Chelsea Dargba, Eighth-grade student, Two Rivers Public Charter School, Washington, DC​

Dylan Paris

Eighth-grade student, Brooklyn Collaborative School, Brooklyn, NY

“I show respect, collaboration and generosity to others. I collaborate with my fellow council members by adding on to their ideas and bringing unity to the group.”

Dylan Paris, Eighth-grade student, Brooklyn Collaborative School, Brooklyn, NY

Amelie Ghirardo

Twelfth-grade student, Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, Forest Hills, New York

“As a co-president for my grade, I am familiar with raising the students' voices to teachers and other staff members. I am part of the Black Lives Matter committee at my school and help plan school events in our community. As a member of EL Education Student Advisory Council, I will make sure that every culture, identity, and race is uplifted and empowered.”

Amelie Ghirardo​, Twelfth-grade student, Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, Forest Hills, New York

Jordyn Miller

Twelfth-grade student, Brooklyn Collaborative School, Brooklyn, NY

“I really like being a part of things that are larger than myself and contributing any way I can. I am an active part of my school community, continuing to work as a school student ambassador, tour guide and speaking at New York City Outward Bound Schools’ virtual benefit gathering.”

Jordyn Miller, Twelfth-grade student, Brooklyn Collaborative School, Brooklyn, NY

Hannah Smith

Alumni, River Bluff High School, Lexington, SC (Clemson University)

“EL Education has been a part of my life since middle school. I vaguely remember walking into Meadow Glen Middle School and having to go to some class called Crew. The concept seemed foreign to me, but as I have grown older and continued at River Bluff, I have learned the value of Crew. I understand what Crew really has done for me. Whether it be passion projects, Passages, or just an ordinary lunch together, I truly believe that Crew exemplifies family.”

Hannah Smith, Alumni, River Bluff High School, Lexington, SC (Clemson University)
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