A different world, a different worldview – but there’s still hope

Now is the time to save a planet in peril

Members of Generation Z can add the dark clouds of war to a string of recent seminal events that are shaping their nascent worldviews.

As such, “Living through history” proved to be an appropriate theme for this year’s all-virtual high school journalism workshop. We knew such a broad topic would generate a wide range of story ideas as seen through the unfiltered eyes of teenagers.

During the program, workshop participants kept a laser focus on their assignments, delivering well-reported, well-written stories from what seems to be a topsy-turvy world.

They have witnessed America’s racial reckoning with the death of George Floyd and how Black Lives Matter protests sparked movements around the world.  As young citizens, many were troubled during the 2020 general elections and the subsequent failed coup attempt of Jan. 6, 2021.

We’ve all been moved to righteous indignation over unjustified police killings of Black and brown people.  We’ve become numb to the daily news of gun violence running amok in our streets. Ever since the Columbine high school massacre in 1999, gun violence has been knocking at the schoolhouse door, leaving a trail of death, destruction and traumatized kids behind. Book banning and how critical race theory is being taught at schools, if at all, are fast becoming wedge issues in ongoing culture wars.  

Human activities have been the main driver of global warming.  It’s a scientific fact that carbon pollution is choking the Earth. Yet, many of those who control the levers of power are in denial and couldn’t care less about being good stewards of our one and only planet.

A recent scientific study predicted that U.S. sea levels at such coastal areas as Cape May, N.J., will rise by 10 to 12 inches by 2050.

Finally, some students took a deep dive into some of the many ways in which the scourge of COVID-19 has forever changed our lives.

Even though some of these topics may appear disparate in nature, students were able to touch on the central theme throughout their narratives.  In short, their stories all point to a different world — a world altered by seismic shifts during the last three years.

With an assist from Inquirer staff volunteers, workshop participants crafted their stories and provided photos, photo galleries and video clips during four Saturdays in the month of February.  During this period, they paused for self-reflection, many with newfound perspective and curiosity.

These aspiring journalists looked no further than their schools, community organizations, vaccine centers, and their own homes to report on groundbreaking moments in history.

Here are their stories:

Oscar Miller

Workshop committee member

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