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Westridge 7th graders explored the often unbelievable difference just one person can make during the "Power of One" showcase, where they presented the work of someone who makes positive social change in their own communities. Each student researched and interviewed their chosen "upstander," then created a metaphorical exhibit (ranging from a meaningful sewn pillow to creative dioramas and even an interactive maze coded using the free programming language Scratch!) reflecting the work of that person. Just a few of those represented in exhibits include:

  • Heather Carmichael, executive director of the nonprofit My Friend's Place,
  • Karen Goldberg, founder of Goldie's Youth Sports,
  • David Levinson, founder of the nonprofit Big Sunday,
  • Joyce Vu, firefighter for the Arrowbear Lake Fire Department,
  • from Westridge (!) Middle School English Teacher John Cross, Lower & Middle School Learning Support Specialist Susie Murdock, Service & Community Engagement Coordinator Erica St. John, and Middle School History Teacher Gigi Bizar,
  • and more!

The Power of One project originally grew out of the Holocaust and Human Behavior curriculum taught by Bizar and Cross in 7th grade Cultural Studies. In their study of the Holocaust, students delve into the individual stories of people who helped Jewish people survive, learning how even one person can effect positive change.

Sasha P. '29, who interviewed her neighbor Lorenzo Hernandez—an engineer and artist dedicated to making art accessible and working with the unhoused population in the San Gabriel Valley, said her biggest takeaway from this project was this: "Every person can be an upstander; it's a choice that we all have."

See photos from the showcase here!