Discovering how an Extracurricular Community shapes Personal Development

“…If you value the liberty that this country was built on, if you represent the interests of the most vulnerable, the poor, you stand on the affirmation of this bill.”

That was the conclusion of my speech on universal-based income (UBI). Economic proposals like UBI are part of the many current issues we simulate as mock Congressmen during a session of Congressional Debate, the speaking event I spend my weekdays and weekends devoted to with my tight-knit high school debate team.

Awake before the crack of dawn, we tiredly trudge onto the…


How learning outside the classroom can replace learning inside the classroom

The school year is 180 days long. Of those days, students lose time to absenteeism of various causes: sickness, family obligations, weather, and in some cases, their financial situations. Yet, a recent policy piloted by the state of Illinois could be the stepping stone to solving that problem: E-learning.

When Electronic Learning (E-learning) was first adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education on a trial basis in 2015, it was meant to shorten the time students lose to bad weather days and keep all students on track with…


Anti-bullying and mental health campaigns have been active markers in the past decade of the education reform canvas. Despite this increased awareness for social and mental health in schools, stress continues to directly plague high school students. More specifically, college admissions, grades and course load play a disproportionate role in shaping that stress.

Concerned by this pattern, I recently sat down with peers from my high school in a roundtable discussion to get a student perspective on school climate and stress. Situated in the affluent North Shore Suburbs of Chicago, my public school is well-funded, allowing students to participate in…


“Any questions?” asked Mrs. Scott, my AP Computer science teacher. Her blank face seemed to take no notice of the irregularity of the situation. She had just situated my class into groups for our next project, and at this moment, the reality was blaring at me. We had been seated in groups of three: two boys and a girl sandwiched between them. The issue was that the majority of these groups had no girls at all. The room was male-dominated, and I seemed to be the only one to find that a problem.

While the male to female ratio in…

Laya Reddy

Excited to create dialogue about resource equity in education. Enjoys munching on bell peppers and devouring poetry.

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