Westhaven High School Students Lead the Way on
Social Justice Issues
New Franklin club teaches teens to uncover social justice issues, understand diverse cultures,
and gain an edge in college admissions
Westhaven’s high school students have a unique opportunity to get involved in their community, fight for social justice, and build a meaningful club that can help tip the scales with admission to competitive colleges. These teens will be a part of the Diversity Leadership Project, which meets at the Westhaven Resident’s Club.
Selected students will work to identify social justice issues and brainstorm ways to tackle them within their school, neighborhood and community as a whole. Along the way, they learn nonviolent communication techniques and develop compassion and understanding of diverse cultures. They also engage in meaningful community service activities that go beyond merely looking good on a college application.
Randall Bedwell, a local college planner, who has worked with dozens of Westhaven families and students, serves as a mentor and guide, along with Audrey Bouvier, a Westhaven resident, mother of two, and local Realtor.
“Our students learn about how to engage their community, increase their empathy toward others, and serve as leaders in opening a dialogue about social justice issues,” Bedwell said. “But, there is a strategic benefit: America’s top universities look more favorably on students who bring leadership in diversity and social justice issues to their campus, particularly when they come from communities whose demographics are different from diversity-rich competitive colleges. This shows compassion and empathy and allows students to show they are more than great test scores and a high GPA.”
According to Maggie Herndon, a rising senior at Centennial High School and founding member of Diversity Leadership Project, “As a white, well-off member of society, it is my responsibility to use my privilege to fight for those who do not have the opportunities that I do, who are consistently left out of the history books and treated as second-class citizens by other privileged individuals. This is my contribution.”
Diversity Leadership Project will have introductory meetings each Thursday night in June at Westhaven Residents’ Club to develop a strategic vision for chapters to be formed in high schools across Williamson County in the fall.
The application process to participate is on the College Path Consultants website. Students are expected to participate in their local chapters, write blogs about diversity and social justice, and participate in an annual conference, the first of which will be held in July.