Activist project teaches fifth graders about people who made change happen


Cesar Chavez speaks at an event.

COLONIAL — The fifth grade classes are doing a project where they choose an activist from a vast list of candidates. The assignment is to write about one activist. Many people chose activists who you don’t hear about often. This is important because students need to study people they don’t know about who tried to make a change.

The teachers and the majority of the students wanted to do research on people who don’t get enough credit.

For example, Cesar Chavez fought for a better quality of life for farmworkers. He also created the National Farm Workers Association.

Chavez was an advocate for farmworkers and led protests and boycotts to change the conditions of the people who worked on farms. He is now recognized much more; even two U.S. presidents honored him. He led protests because he had experienced being a farmworker. He had to leave Arizona to go to California because his family lost their farm and couldn’t make a living. The conditions of the farmworkers were horrible. They lived in shacks and didn’t get enough protein so they sometimes died. Not only that, but they were left to do the hard work, and they didn’t even have a choice.

Since those things were happening, Chavez lead a 340-mile protest march and fasted for 36 days.

He is just one activist that most fifth graders didn’t know about.

Other students picked other activists.

“I chose Malcolm X because he had a big impact on social justice for African American equality, and I hadn’t heard his name much,” said Jared Slawsky.

“I chose Greta Thunberg because I am interested in climate change and am Swedish,” said Sebastian Ferrara.