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World of Inquiry Junior Recognized by The Princeton Prize in Race Relations

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    April Hattori

Unique Fair-Smith, a junior at World of Inquiry #58 (WOI) has been awarded a Certificate of Accomplishment for the Rochester, NY region in the prestigious Princeton Prize for Race Relations. WOI is an Expeditionary Learning Mentor School, one of the top performing schools in our network.

The mission of the Princeton Prize is “to promote harmony, understanding, and respect among people of different races by identifying and recognizing high school age students whose efforts have had a significant, positive effect on race relations in their schools or communities."

WOI counselor Kristine Resch nominated Fair-Smith for the Prize, noting that he holds leadership roles within the community, including organizations such as Youth as Resources (YAR) and the Rochester City School District’s Student Leadership Congress (SLC).

“In these positions, he has been at the center of making changes and promoting peace within all schools his district and the surrounding communities. Most importantly, Unique is involved in the Rite of Passages program that helps to educate and unite cultures by breaking stereotypes and bringing people together,” Resch said.

Fair-Smith currently is using his passion for art as a media source to promote Civil Rights as part of race relations.  His current project for the City Hall Art Gallery focuses on race and discrimination today.  He hopes his artwork inspires deeper thinking and conversations that bring awareness to current issues facing Rochester and beyond.  His message speaks to inequalities within African American culture and discrimination among ageism, sexism, etc. 

“Unique’s goal is not to foster anger, oppression, and negative relations but more so to inspire hope.  To inspire hope that regardless of whom we are, the crusade for Civil Rights is one for all Americans to join, for all humanity to join,” Resch said.

The exhibit will be displayed on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement and the Rochester Race Riots.  Resch noted that World of Inquiry was founded as a result of Rochester wanting to improve race relations after the riots.  

“It only seems fitting that we will be returning to our new building this year and plan to display Unique’s artwork and the peace pledges students create on this significant anniversary,” she said.

In a local public radio interview, Fair-Smith said his advice for anyone who wants more harmony in the world is to open your mind. "There are aspects of some person's culture or life that you may have never experienced or even know about. Be willing to go the extra mile to know another person. As you learn about diversity, it improves yourself. You get a better understanding of the world around you and get a better understanding of yourself."

Hear the full public radio interview here.