MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Hundreds of area students will celebrate Election Day and come together to prove that they are neither apathetic nor unengaged in the political process. Friday, Marquette Senior High School students competed for a spot in the Tom Baldini Soapbox Showcase.
Twelve brave students from Marquette Senior High School, Negaunee Middle School, and Westwood High School will compete in the Tom Baldini Soapbox Showcase. Students will take a stand as they address the questions: “What is the most pressing issue facing young people today, why is it important, and what should be done to address it?”
This unique and powerful event aims to shine a light on issues including mental health, racial and gender inequality, environmental concerns, as well as other societal issues. Speeches include powerful combinations of passion, research and personal stories about themselves and their loved ones.
Friday, 14 Marquette Senior High School students gave it their best shot to move onto the final round of the Tom Baldini Soapbox Showcase. Only six from Marquette Senior High School will compete.
"Over the last few days, we've had over 400 students at Marquette Senior High School that have taken two minutes to get up on their soap box and explain what is the biggest issue in their community, why is it such an issue and what needs to be done about it,” said Marquette Senior High School teacher Blythe Raikko.
In order to qualify for the Tom Baldini Soapbox Showcase, finalists were selected from over 600 students who gave soapbox speeches in their history or English classes. Marquette Senior High School student Anna Lindgren spoke on the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women.
"Coming from an indigenous family and growing up Native American, it was just really important for me to talk about this because not a lot of people know about it and it's just really important to talk about it and for people to know about it,” said Lindgren.
The youth-driven civic engagement event calls on area youth to speak out on issues that affect them and their communities.
"A lot of kids feel like they don't have a voice and my experience showed me that I really do and can show other kids that they also have a voice,” said last year's winner and this year's judge, Lillian Biolo-Thompson.
The Tom Baldini Soapbox Showcase will honor the legacy of Tom Baldini, a former educator and a longtime public servant who made an impact at the local, state, and national level.
"Inspiring the next generation of youth to become civic activists is something that I think Tom would really love and support,” said Raikko.
The dual purpose of this Soapbox Showcase is to honor his legacy and to engage and empower the next generation of community leaders.
"Students are just wanting to have an opportunity to have a platform, to have a voice and project soapbox lends itself beautify to that,” continued Raikko.
The second annual Tom Baldini Soapbox Showcase will take place November 5, Election Day, at Kaufman Auditorium, 611 North Front Street, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.