By Amanda Piril
With January coming to an end, let’s take a look back at all the achievements Beaverton High School students have had for improving their community and bringing awareness to social issues. Through their actions, students exemplified how “community connects us”; one of our four core values that are followed at school.
During a joint meeting between the Beaverton School Board and the Beaverton City Council, junior Cameron Monfared was awarded the Human Rights Advisory Commision Award for 2017. The recipient of such an award is distinguished for their commitment to service, to equaling the playing field for people, and to their commitment to fighting human rights issues in their city. Monfared has an extensive list of contributions to the community, so it was no surprise that he won such an award. “This year, I was told I was selected because of my work with homelessness and other human rights issues like human trafficking/sex trafficking especially, and I just focused a lot on my work and got it done,” Monfared explained, and also noted how the CEO of Columbia Sportswear has previously received the award as well.
Cameron Monfared stands alongside Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle to accept his award. (Photo courtesy of @beavertonhigh Instagram)
Monfared’s most recent noticeable work has been in co-founding Club Hope, at Beaverton, to help the population of homeless students. “We’ve known that the Beaverton School District, especially Beaverton High School, has incredibly high rates of homelessness. Our students and other people within our districts really need our help,” shared Monfared about the inspiration to push the start of the club.
Also this month, there was a Washington County Human Rights Poster Contest where participants were asked to create an original poster that depicts the theme of ‘We are all born free and equal’. The top three places, in the high school division, all went to students who attend Beaverton High School. The student who went home with the first place title was junior Ashley Stephens, and the two runner-ups were senior Ruth Ataliah Teston, and junior Sarah Bradford.
Ashely Stephens’ winning design for the Washington County Human Rights Poster Contest. (Photo by Ashely Stephens).
“Well, I wanted to express myself, that’s what I do with my art, express myself through that. I wanted to see if I can show anything, I just do it for fun,” shared Stephens on what inclined her to participate.
“Since I started high school I’ve always been interested in social justice and humanitarian work and making a difference in the world that needs to be made.” Ruth Ataliah Teston won second place in the competition. (Photo by Ruth Ataliah Teston).
“It’s crazy, I didn’t really expect to win at all, the whole ceremony thing was really awesome, they had a lot of speakers and talked about MLK… it was a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be,” Bradford said, alongside the other winners, who never expected to win when they submitted their poster to the contest. The winning posters were displayed at the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Hillsboro.
Sarah Bradford and her third place winning poster design. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Bradford).
Some Beaverton students took it upon themselves to go out and share with others what they believe. Several members of the Black Student Union came together to protest children’s social injustice by marching on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard as well as reclaiming the street. Trey Singleton, junior, shared his experience and why he chose to take part in the march. “I know there are probably a lot of people who didn’t even know MLK Day was on Monday, but the fact that we were able to go out says we support him for what he did for us and the black community.” Students brought with them posters they had made to share their message.
Students from Beaverton’s Black Student Union carry a banner saying “The Young Always Inherit the Revolution”. (Photo courtesy of Carmen Benoit).
Beaverton’s Black Student Union has a lot of work ahead of them in preparation for February with the celebration of Black History Month. “A lot of times in schools, Black History Month goes unnoticed,” says Singleton. The Black Student Union hopes to teach the rest of the school that MLK wasn’t the only activist for the black community but that there are many more people to be remembered.
Beaverton High School’s Black Student Union protesting children’s social injustice. (Photo by Fernando Maldanado).