The Mikva Challenge Project Soapbox is a public speaking event that calls young people to speak out on issues that affect them and their communities. These powerful speeches have lasting, transformative impacts on classrooms, schools and communities.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, we have been working with middle and high school NH teachers to help them implement the Mikva Challenge in their classrooms. We are currently working with the following school districts: Groveton, Gorham, Littleton, Weare, Henniker and Pittsfield.
On March 9th, 2021, twelve New Hampshire student finalists presented their platforms which were reviewed by civic partners including former Chief Justice John Broderick, First Lady Valerie Sununu, former NH Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, and former NH Humanities Executive Director Anthony Poore.
More about the Mikva Challenge Program
The NH Institute for Civics Education received a three-year service grant to work with six New Hampshire middle schools as they implement a proven civics curriculum, educator professional development, and youth leadership program: the Mikva Challenge.
This initiative is funded by the Bezos Family Foundation along with local NH organizations including the Tillotson Foundation, the NH Democracy Fund, and the Jameson Foundation.
Learn more about the Mikva Challenge here: https://mikvachallenge.org/blog/soapbox-a-teachers-reflection
Groveton, NH - A parent volunteer from Ms. Langkau's class created this soap box for student speeches.
Sample soapbox speech from a Vermont high school student:
"In the 2016 presidential election, mind you, an election that affects every person, every being in the United States, the largest age group to make up voter turnout were ages 65 and up. How does this happen when they only make up 14% of the national population?
Only 14 out of our 50 states require students to take a civics course and exam. This reflects that civics education is lacking. If we live in a democracy, then we should know how to be civically engaged. We need to understand how so many of these elections and political systems in place DIRECTLY affect us....
We make up the majority, yet were underserved and underrepresented on a politically national level. This is because we don’t know how to make ourselves heard and it needs to start with education. Let’s learn how your government works and what you can do to be involved in that.
People think, what’s the point. Why would we do this if the world is going to blow up anyway? What does it matter if I don’t go to this protest? The point is that tomorrow, there will still be the problem. Tomorrow, the earth's average temperature will still be 2 degrees higher than it should be. Tomorrow, women will still have their scars and bruises from the unconvicted abuser and society’s sexist expectations. Tomorrow, I will still be a black female trying to make my college application shine and hope, and hope that I get a scholarship.
Look around you. This is a reflection of our society.
Know your rights. Know what you’re capable of. You’re more capable than an instagram post and a tag on Facebook.
I know you must be tired. Sleepless nights and tired bodies. But, people’s lives can’t wait for you to be awake!"
- Olivia Dixon
Von Steuben High School, 2020 Middlebury College, 2024
Please contact us with any questions you may have about any of our programs or would like additional information.