Merrit jones USA,19
project: Student voice
basich human NEEDS: Education
Theme Song: "Upside Down" by Jack Johnson
Upon moving to a different school district in South Carolina, Merrit immediately noticed the gross inequities between her two educational experiences. Merrit founded Student Space to combat the long history of injustice among schools in the state of South Carolina. Working with youth and the government, Student Space works to empower students to take an active role in their education and improve schools across the state. They host roundtable discussions at schools, represent the voices of young people at educational conferences and organize an annual student lobby day at the South Carolina state house. Student Space pushes students to think critically about their own education, while advising them how to use their voices and create change. They have directly engaged more than 3,000 individuals, and impacted many more by creating and initiating policy in schools statewide. Merrit is currently taking a gap year to grow their network of student leaders, spread Student Space into more schools and increase student representation in spaces where young voices are typically excluded. Beyond this year, Merrit envisions Student Space transforming into an international movement.