Youth Facing Racism: Engaging American Experiences of Race, Ethnicity, and Identity

A Four-week Program For High School Students. This dynamic SSL program for high school students includes eight online small group discussions as well as a service project completed at Corhaven Graveyard, a historical burial ground for African-Americans who were enslaved in Shenandoah County, Virginia.

Online small group discussions. Small group discussions - maximum six students - focus on "names" and include three units: Say Your Name, Say My Name, and Say Their Names. In the first unit, Say Your Name, we discuss the importance of identity through the framework of our names. In the second unit, Say My Name, students hear high school students' stories and explore ways to promote awareness and change around racism, stereotypes, and bias. In the third unit, Say Their Names, students meet online with "poet ambassadors" from the Freeminds Book Club. These young adults, who had been incarcerated in their youth, share their stories and explain how reading and writing poetry has changed their lives.


corhaven graveyard

Service learning field trip. In addition to the three units described above, the program includes a service learning field trip to Corhaven Graveyard. Corhaven Graveyard is a historical burial ground for enslaved people. It has been developed as a site of remembrance and reconciliation. Participants in the field trip will complete a volunteer service project to improve the grounds of the graveyard. Enslaved people often did not control their own names nor the names of their children. Participants in the field trip will engage in guided reflection regarding the lives of the enslaved people buried there, as well as their names - some known, many not, along with completing a service project.

Taken together, this program consists of four weeks of online discussion sessions meeting twice a week, plus a 2/3-day field trip. *

*Students (or their families) will need to provide their own transportation for the field trip program, which takes place in Quicksburg, Virginia.


SSL credit hours. The program offers high school students the opportunity to earn SSL credit hours through WCIE. The program is designed to satisfy the SSL requirements of the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). If you are enrolled at another public or private school in the U.S., or elsewhere around the world, ask your counselor if this program satisfies community service requirements. 

Program dates.This program will be offered with online discussions starting the week of June 21, 2021. Students will be split into two groups for online discussions and must indicate which group schedule works best for them with their application. Each group will also complete a 2 hour asynchronous Student Advocacy Project. The service learning field trip, which is required for students seeking SSL hour credit, will be held two weeks after the first online discussions. Students must be available for and attend that field trip. Additional program dates are under consideration.

To register. Students interested in this program must complete an online registration form. Students will also need to provide a short personal statement (two to four paragraphs) explaining why they want to take part in this program and what they hope to learn from their participation. Please email the personal statement to us. Your personal statement should include the name of your school and grade level.

Requirements. Students must be between 15 and 19 years of age. Students must complete the application and provide a short personal statement. Non-native English speaking students must have English language proficiency at a High Intermediate level or above. 

Timeline. Students will be informed if they are accepted to the program and will be provided program materials two weeks prior to the first online session.

For more information. Email us with questions or if you would like to be informed when applications are accepted for future program offerings.