My name is Nick Wilkins and I’m the new Student Organizer for UnifiEd! Having attended Hamilton County schools for my entire public education, I’m excited for the opportunity to help improve them during my final year. Youth are impacted by each and every issue a community faces, and our voices can be the strongest tools for change when we are given the opportunity to lead. A student organizer’s job isn’t just to organize students; it’s to empower them. We are discussing our schools, our education, and our future. Because we each have firsthand knowledge of our schools we know what needs to change. If given the tools, we can create an opportunity for change. Our voice is integral to the conversation because the conversation is about us and our future.

When organizations like UnifiEd create opportunities for students to effectively organize, we can help advocate for the issues that are important to us and take a leading role in improving our community. Students in Hamilton County will be empowered to push for policy changes, whether that be through social media campaigns, speaking at school board meetings, and building relationships with other students that also have a passion for change. We’ll be provided with the tools to improve our future and the microphone to amplify our voices. Through organizing my peers, I can work with them to take bold action to ensure our brilliant future for all of Hamilton County.

Nelson Mandela once said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I go to school each day knowing that I’m receiving the education I need to change the world. My teachers have the resources, from technology to training, to challenge each and every student. Our anatomy class has the opportunity to dissect cats and my environmental studies class has the equipment to go outside and field-test soil and water samples.

Not every student in our county gets the education that I’m privileged to receive, but each student deserves it. Our students will change the world, but first we need the best education possible. Before we can go out and make the world a better place, we need to make changes right here at home.

This_One_TOO!Nick is going into his senior year at Ooltewah High School, where he is actively involved in the International Baccalaureate Program, the Gay-Straight Alliance, and Mock Trial. Outside of school he is a volunteer at the Tennessee Aquarium and a member of Plan USA’s Youth Advisory Board.