Learning Through Crises Together….JSEC Senior Included in National Panel Discussion


McKenzie Pizarro, JSEC Newspaper Staff Journalist

On May 5th, 2020,  I was given the opportunity to interview Alondra Cepeda, a Senior at JSEC, just in case you  didn’t know. At her age she has done so many great things that have not only impacted herself but our community as well. Alondra is part of an organization panel called “ Generation Citizen” that will take place on May 14th, 2020. She is an advocate for the youth community and continues to stand up for what she believes in.

JSEC Seniors: Adaliza Espinoza & Alondra Cepeda

Check out the interview below: 

Kenzie: What is Generation Citizen?

Alondra:   Generation Citizen (GC) is a nonprofit organization that tries to provide a civics education across the United States to help students to provided with knowledge and necessary skills to be a civically engaged citizen.

Kenzie: How long have you been part of the group?

Alondra: I have been part of the Student Leadership Board (SLB) for almost a year but have been in the Generation Citizen project since my sophomore year of high school with Mrs. Gormley.

Kenzie : What do you feel like you can accomplish?

Alondra:  Generation Citizen has opened plenty of doors when it comes to advocating in general and advocating for students specifically  like myself.   With Generation Citizen I feel like I can accomplish many things and I have.   I’ve been able to become part of their Student Leadership Board which helps serve Generation Citizen at a national level to have that student voice needed to keep the curriculum effective for students in middle/ high schools.

Kenzie: Does the group deal with certain issues?

Alondra:  As an SLB member not only did we go through the whole GC curriculum but we also created projects based on issues in our community in which we were civically engaged on.   In my project during my Junior year we focused on student absenteeism in our city.   From that project we continued on and designed a campaign called “PVD 180” which has been implemented in all schools in Providence.

SLB members also focus on creating a better curriculum and being that student voice that our directors need to create better things for students but we also continuously advocate for civics education and Generation Citizens as a whole.

Kenzie: What are the details about this upcoming panel discussion?

Kenzie: On May 14th, Generation Citizen will be holding a panel with council President Sabina Matos, Dr. Steven LaBounty-McNair, Education Specialist with RIDE, Dr. Barbara Mullen, Chief Equity and Diversity Officer of the Providence School Department, and myself.  This will be an opportunity for students and community leaders to connect and talk about how school has been impacting them and the challenges students  face while learning in a crisis. Students will be able to ask questions and we of course, will be answering them. It’s a great opportunity for students to use as an outlet and express how this is all affecting them.

Kenzie: What are the goals of GC?

Alondra: To provide students with necessary knowledge and information to be civically engaged.

Kenzie: What is your favorite part working with this organization?

Alondra: My favorite part of working with GC is having the ability to talk to so many different people who come from different parts of the country and have different backgrounds. If you can join the SLB, you should, you are provided with multiple resources and life long friends.

Kenzie: Do you feel like this organization has impacted you?

Alondra: To say that this organization has impacted me is an understatement. GC has provided me so many skills from learning how to network and continuously be an advocate for student voice and civics.

Kenzie: What is the outcome you want to get out of this discussion?

Alondra: I would like for students to know that yes this is a difficult time, it’s confusing and scary for some of us Seniors, it’s truly heartbreaking,  but we are better together.  Be a part of the conversation and help by adding your input.

Kenzie: What advice would you give your audience?

Alondra: The best advice I can give is:  Take the opportunity that is given to you, the scariest opportunities have the best outcomes most of the time and in the face of adversity we must strive and keep going.

In summary,  JSEC is hoping that the student body participates in the panel discussion, sends in questions, and gets information about some of the things we have done, where we are headed, and address some of the variables and unknowns that lie ahead of us.

Wishing JSEC students, families, staff, and all reading this remain safe and together we will get through this.

-Kenzie Pizarro

JSEC Yearbook Journalist