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High School Youth Ambassadors

SSP Youth Ambassadors

Three high school students are representing South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) as Youth Equity Ambassadors. Youth Ambassadors is a collaboration between South St. Paul Public Schools, St. Paul Public Schools, and School District 197. One Saturday each month the student ambassadors from each school meet to build community and learn foundational equity leadership skills. The three ambassadors from South St. Paul this school year are:

  • Diffina, Grade 11
  • Maria, Grade 11
  • Anthony, Grade 10

The students chosen are mostly first generation Americans. Each student representing a different culture and background. At the meetings, students share an aspect of their culture. They teach the other students about traditions that have been passed down and things they learn from their families. The students are given a topic and questions to bring home for discussion with their family. The “homework” is to help the students gain a better understanding of their culture and heritage before the next meeting. 

Diffina says, “The questions we bring home have really helped me learn more in depth about my family, my culture, and my parents.”

Maria added, “It’s helped me learn my family’s point of view on certain topics and how they see the world differently from how I see it as a first generation American.”

The ambassadors shared things that surprised them when they attended meetings about other cultures and discussed how they plan to use their new knowledge. 

Maria says, “It’s helped me be more inclusive in our school. We’ve learned a lot about people’s backgrounds and differences, but we also found that we have a lot in common.”

Diffina says, “Most of the people at these meetings have their own affinity groups at school. We can bring the things we learn about other cultures to our groups and help more people understand that we’re not that different.”

At their meetings, the students are also training to be ambassadors at this year’s Beyond Our Walls: SPPS Equity Summit in St. Paul. The Equity Summit is a one day gathering for educators, students, families, and community members to learn about gender and racial equity. The Summit will be held Saturday, May 4 from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, the location is still being determined.

The Youth Ambassadors Program is new this year at SSPPS as one of the District’s Achievement and Integration projects. The program chaperone is the High School Equity & Instructional Coach, Bill Bauman. Mr. Bauman says he looks forward to watching the program grow and inviting more students and cultures into the program in the coming years.

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