MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Eleven Marquette County students raised their voices Tuesday about issues affecting their lives and communities.
At the Second Annual Tom Baldini Soapbox Showcase at Kaufman Auditorium, students discussed a range of issues they believed needed to be heard and addressed in future conversation with lawmakers.
"It's incredibly important for us to be able to get up on our soap box, and talk about things that we think are important because so often our voices our shut out from government officials and other forms of oppression,” said Marquette Senior High School student and finalist, Roxy Sprowl. "I talked about moving beyond white-washed history."
During her presentation, Sprowl stood bold, in front of hundreds of piercing eyes, looking at her as she talked about an issue affecting not only herself but her community.
"It's really important to me because as a Native American, I don't really see my history in the history books that I read, and I don't see it portrayed in conversations or legislation,” she explained.
She's hoping Tuesday’s civic platform will change this not only for Marquette, but when she visits Washington D.C this summer, one of the prizes she received after winning this year's soapbox showcase.
"I really hope that the speeches are the start to the conversation,” she said.
The ten other finalists from Marquette Senior High School, Negaunee Middle School and Westwood High School touched on topics such as body image, child protective services and murdered and missing indigenous women.
"I'm so proud of our kids. It's just an amazing opportunity. It's a wonderful movement to be a part of and I'm just so thrilled to be a leader in it,” said Soapbox Showcase Event Organizer, Blythe Raikko.
This way students like Sprowl have the opportunity to stand up for what they believe, in addition to making sure their voices are heard.
Anthony Gleason, an eighth grader from Negaunee Middle School, won this year's Student Choice Award.
The showcase, named for Baldini, honors the legacy of the former Marquette educator and community leader who died in 2017.