Nineteen Delaware high school students were selected to join the inaugural cohort of the Youth Advocacy Council training program.

The Delaware Youth Advocacy Council is the first statewide forum for high school students to engage in education policy by leading their own campaigns to improve Delaware schools.

This initiative is led by TeenSharp Site Manager Gabrielle Thomas and DelawareCan Executive Director Atnre Alleyne. The students selected were from a pool of more than 40 applicants from more than 25 public and private high schools across the state. The idea for the council arose from observations Thomas collected revealing that youth are rarely invited to participate in policy discussions, despite being the school system’s largest stakeholder group.

The selected students will undergo 10 months of extensive training, where they will be exposed to the education landscape in Delaware and meet with policymakers; charged with conducting a listening tour about education among their peers and communities; taught how to design and implement effective advocacy campaigns; and be inspired to become long-term advocates.

The students will engage in field trips to witness education policy in action at the state, district and school levels.

The program will kick off June 14 with a field trip to Dover to tour Delaware’s legislature, meet with policymakers and attend education committee meetings.

This year’s cohort includes Siawaa Antwi, grade 11, Freire Charter School; Kayla Brandon, grade nine, Howard High School of Technology; Sascha Bretzger, grade 11, Charter School of Wilmington; Cyntiche Deba, grade 11, Freire Charter School; Kamryn Dorsett, grade nine, Hodgson Vocational-Technical High School; Niki Dupree, grade 10, Padua Academy; Abrianna Dyer, grade 11, Dover High School; Anwar Dyer, grade 11, Polytech High School; Kunovenu Haimbodi, grade 12, Cab Calloway School of the Arts; Elijah Jones, grade 10, Tatnall School; Alphina Kamara, grade 12, Mt. Pleasant High School; Noelle Kuhoric, grade 11, Seaford Senior High School; Tara Lennon, grade 11, Charter School of Wilmington; Shaniya Lewis, grade 10, Newark High School; Marco Ortega, grade 11, William Penn High School; Madeline Schneider, grade 12, Sussex Technical School; Alex Sharpe, grade 11, Appoquinimink High School; Kyayr Tucker, grade 12, Salesianum School; and Naheem Watson, grade 10, Mt. Pleasant High School.

For information, visit delawarecan.org.