Lincoln Middle School’s Youth Activist Project Gives Students A Voice

Alameda Unified School District--One of the many submissions for the Lincoln Middle School art project depicted students holding signs on subjects that matter to them.

Lincoln Middle School’s Youth Activist Project Gives Students A Voice

Lincoln Middle School (LMS)students created an art display showcase as part of their Youth Activist Project.

The project was designed to create a multi-disciplinary display about world issues of concern to the students. The resulting showcase, which was displayed in both the school’s Collage Display Visual and Performing Arts Gallery and media center, comprises images of racism, climate change, police brutality, plastic waste, women’s rights, homelessness, ocean pollution, mental health, and body image. Students depicted fires, isolation, and the deaths of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Kobe Bryant, and Breonna Taylor. Art pieces included sketches, painting, tri-fold poster displays and collages.

“What was interesting was how many of the students came up with the same topic,” said LMS eighth grader Paige Heckman. “It shows how big these topics are for us. It’s really cool for students to see they aren’t the only ones who care about these things.

The project started as an idea in the Leadership class at LMS.

“It seemed like a good way to engage students in the issues they cared about,” said Chris Hansen, LMS Leadership teacher and one of the organizers of the project. “It was a way to pursue their own interests in a deeper way.”

Leadership students then advertised the opportunity to participate in the Youth Activist Project schoolwide via the “Lion’s Pride” newscast, student newsletter, a short promotional video, presentations to the PTA and LMS staff, and word of mouth. “We envision this as something similar to a science fair, but rather than being about science, it will be about current issues important to you,” read the Lion’s Pride promotion.

Even though this was mainly a voluntary project, more than 100 art submissions were received for the project. A few other teachers integrated the project into their class curriculum.

Alameda Unified School District Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi was proud of the participants in the project.

“The Y.A.P. displays at Lincoln were great examples of the type of student-led and teacher-supported work we hope to see more regularly across AUSD.” Said Scuderi in a statement. “These projects demonstrate hands-on and in-depth engagement with sophisticated topics, contextualized and multi-disciplinary learning, and diverse forms of creativity and expression.”

To view the project’s artwork, visit

Individual artwork was turned into a collage.