Students Nationwide Step Up to Help Their Communities Stay Positive
We (virtually) sat down with a high school senior who started an Instagram account dedicated to sharing good news.
Students across the country are stepping up and taking the initiative to help others and spread positivity during the COVID-19 pandemic. From a high school senior building a medical supply donation website to a group of students establishing a hotline for the elderly where people can call in and leave positive messages of support, students are finding ways to spark greater good through technology. Our team at The Social Institute was excited to see how a student at one of our partner schools, Gilman School (an all-boys independent school in Baltimore, Maryland), created a “Share Good News” Instagram account to spread positive vibes through their school community. We caught up with Fen to hear his perspective on why this was important to him, the steps he took, and what other students can do to create change in their own community.
What was your inspiration for the Gilman Share Good News account? How did you actually get it going?
Fen: When John Krasinski launched his ‘Some Good News’ YouTube show, I really loved it, and I thought why not take this idea and translate it into a more local scale, like school. I talked to teachers that I thought students would really like to hear from and asked them to make some videos. They were really helpful and enthusiastic, and everything has been met with positive feedback.
What has been the reaction from students, faculty, and the larger Gilman community?
Fen: All the feedback we have received so far has been extremely positive. Teachers love sharing glimpses of their at-home lives, and students love doing it as well. We have also been able to reach the larger Baltimore community with Ray Lewis (Baltimore Raven’s 12-time Pro-Bowler and Hall of Famer) even sharing a video to the seniors.
How do you think this account is helping bring your community together?
Fen: Personally, I love getting to see teachers outside of the classroom environment. Seeing these videos made me realize that they are human too and that they also have lives outside of school. I think that many of my peers feel the same way, and we feel more connected with our teachers by seeing this vulnerable side.
What are your goals for the future, both for the account and personally?
Fen: Right now, I have a few posts lined up in the short-term and I will continue to get content through the end of the school year. As for the summer and beyond, I don’t really have a plan right now. I would love to pass on the account to an underclassman and continue to spread positivity in the community. Personally, I will be attending the University of Colorado Boulder next fall and I am super excited to start!
What’s your biggest piece of advice to pass onto someone younger than you?
Fen: During this time in quarantine, I have been able to reflect over my thirteen years spent at Gilman. I would definitely tell any underclassman to not worry too much about the future, as things always change. I mean right now, as a senior, I am still not sure what my future holds for me. I really encourage students to live in the moment and embrace what’s right in front of you.
To learn more about how students are making an impact during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our Resources page.
The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, parents, and educators to navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology positively through comprehensive, gamified lessons that meet students on their level. We have partnered with forward-thinking institutions across the nation, including Ravenscroft School, Gaston Day School, Miss Porter’s School, Gilman School, Woodward Academy, U.S. Olympic athletes, Duke Men’s Basketball, ESPN, and others. For more information, contact us.