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For freshmen at embattled school, academic work and activism overlap

Students at Manual High School launched a photo campaign to support their school and oppose proposed overhauls.
Students at Manual High School launched a photo campaign to support their school and oppose proposed overhauls.

After a spring full of community agitation, Manual High School students funneled their activism into a time-honored academic hurdle: final papers. A freshman English class at Manual wrote their final assignments — an argumentative essay — on what they want for the school’s future. The class posted them online, alongside a photo series of students holding signs stating “I choose Manual because…”

The essays largely opposed the controversial plan presented two weeks ago, which would combine the ninth grades of nearby East High School and Manual and place a STEM school on the campus. In fact, Olivia Jones, the students’ teacher, offered the project as an alternative final after students pushed for an opportunity to express their feelings following a heated May 12 meeting. To read all of the students’ essays and see their photographs, visit the class’ project page here.

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