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Three Seniors at St. Cloud High School Promote Equality Through a School Project

Ta'liyah, Giana, and Genesis are on a mission.

"I was having a conversation with Ms. Tommy about everything that was going on over the summer and I said what we need is 'Equality.'" said Giana.

That name -- "Equality." -- stuck and inspired the three seniors to promote positive changes in their school. They spent several months compiling research, surveying their peers about their own experiences, and meeting with school administrators to promote equality.

"We originally wanted to follow what the Black Lives Matter did, but we wanted to take our own route and our own twist on our thoughts about equality," said Genesis.

"Honestly, we were kind of scared for that reason to do the project." said Giana. "We thought people were going to be extremely against it because of what we’ve experienced in our lives."

Instead, this experience has taught the three of them that they are not alone. Many students have shown their support by signing the "Equality." wall, which has found a home in the school's cafeteria.

"In the beginning there weren't that many signatures, but to see that this many people stand with us, it really makes a difference and a change," said Ta'liyah.

In February, the three presented their advocacy project at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) district competition and won. Now they are preparing regionals, which will take place after spring break.

"When we win regionals, and we go to nationals we would probably add more to our project in terms of partnerships media involvement maybe make our project not just within St. Cloud high school make it into other schools as well," said Giana.

As part of their preparation, the three are exploring ways to expand their project beyond the gates of St. Cloud High School. One of their ideas, to invite Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace to their school for a meeting.

"These three ladies have an amazing effort at gathering research, talking to their peers, and doing a survey to decide how others felt and what actionable items we could take away from this movement so that everyone here at St. Cloud high school and beyond can feel like they belong in an equal environment," said Dr. Pace.

After signing the students' "Equality." wall, Dr. Pace asked Ta'liyah, Giana, and Genesis to meet with students and administrators at other schools across the School District of Osceola County.

"I think equality. Is something that not just St. Cloud High School can stand behind, but certainly the School District of Osceola County can stand behind."

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