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Evanston youth have shown their mettle in the past year, organizing peaceful protests and other events that called for change in institutions that have ignored signs of deeply entrenched racism.

Three guest essays by Evanston teens – one of the essays unsolicited – have already appeared in the online paper, each a personal reflection on the unsettling circumstances caused by the pandemic.

High schoolers are not the only ones putting thoughts into words. 

The RoundTable is also publishing work by elementary- and middle-school students. The first of these originated in a club started this fall by Haven teacher Maia Randhava to produce the Northstar News, a monthly collection of student writing. Some 16 sixth- through eighth-graders participate, meeting twice a week by Zoom or Google.

Watch, in coming weeks, for other fresh voices of Evanston. Up next: reviews written by Ms. Kipfers’ fifth-grade class at Kingsley Elementary School and offered to the RoundTable

Small But Mighty

By Rosie, Haven Eighth-Grader

On September 18, 2020, in Washington D.C., we lost a truly amazing American hero: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. However, instead of dwelling on our loss we should look to her legacy and recognize the lessons she taught. 

For starters, Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived a humble life in Brooklyn, New York. She lived there with her mother, Cecelia, her father, Nathan, and her sister, Marilyn. She lost her mom to cancer when she was a teenager. Her mom shaped her as a person and as a women’s rights activist.

Ms. Bader Ginsburg shared, “My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.” And she took that to heart when she was older.

At 5’1” she accomplished so much with her small stature yet huge mind. She went to law school at Harvard and Columbia universities.

While at Harvard, she was one of eight women out of 552 men to attend. Later in her life, she was the first Jewish woman to be on the Supreme Court, and was the second woman to be on the Supreme Court, after Sandra Day O’Connor. This all indicates that she followed her mom’s advice.

Not only did she show what she believed in through getting a good education and going to law school and being one of the only women there but she also showed independence when she was older, through her rulings while on the Supreme Court. She firmly believed in gender equality but many people think that she only believed in women’s rights.

She definitely believed in rights for women but she also stood up for many men who couldn’t take custody of their children. She stated, “I don’t say women’s rights, I say the constitutional principle of the equal citizenship stature of men and women.” This showed that she believed in what was fair and not just one perspective.

Ms. Bader Ginsburg once said, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” In her lifetime, she accomplished just that. She got along with many people who had different viewpoints from hers, but they still couldn’t resist her unique personality. Even though Antonin Scalia had many different opinions than Ruth, they still managed to have an amazing friendship for a very long time.

To get along with people, you sometimes have to look past their disagreements and principles and appreciate their perspectives even though you may disagree.

One of RBG’s best qualities and strengths was how she stood up for what she believed in.

“I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” This is one of Ginsburg’s most famous quotes because she says it in such a powerful yet respectful way. It is hard not to love this quote. She taught us to not give up and not stop working hard because if we do, we won’t accomplish as many things as we could. We will regret it; we shouldn’t let systemic barriers get in the way of achieving our dreams. She is such an empowering person, and America will miss her and her strong messages. 

You may ask the question, “Why did this old lady draw in so many young people?” I could not name any other Supreme Court Justice with this much praise from millennials and even people younger, like me.

What made Ruth Bader Ginsburg so special? All of these lessons learned from her are the reason – her character and personality and her passion for what she was doing. She stood up for justice and she wanted to make things right until the day she died. She is many people’s hero including mine, and we should never forget her, or the legacy she left behind to the American people.

Hawaii Dreamin’

By Ella, Haven Eighth-Grader

I take in the toasty sunlight as it warms my face, and wiggle my toes in the soft sand beneath me. A light breeze whispers through the air, tickling my cheek, and the palm trees sway together, as if they’re all singing one sad song. My skin is already darkening in the sun, and the brave tips of hair peeking out from my bandana are turning blonde. Soon I’ll be surfing, swimming, boating, tubing, scuba diving, and so much more.

This can’t wait. I can’t wait, but I have to. I stare out into the endless ocean. Its color blows my mind. The beautiful, vibrant blue brings tears to my eyes, because I know I can’t really have this. 

This trip that I earned, days spent in the hospital, it was all I was asking for; now, my prize for beating cancer was a ship lost at sea. Diagnosed in 2018, fighting, fighting, fighting, and now I’d lost my chance to really breathe.

My knuckles are raw, my skin torn, but my fists are still ready. I’m still second guessing, trust nothing, and no one.

When can I have peace? Cancer is gone, but it’s really still here, hidden in the shadows, it peeks in through my window, and makes my heart pound. Then the tumor is back, eating away at the final healthy cells, and I’m almost not surprised, I was dreading it all along. 

I take a deep breath – in, and out, the air is so fresh, so clean, so … perfect. That’s what this whole place is. And I’m so heartbroken that I can’t be there now.

I’m finally put out of my stupor, and my head comes out from the clouds. I reluctantly tap the zoom link on my IPad, thoughts of sun filled days, and ocean breeze still drifting through my mind. Hawaii will come, but first, cancer must go.

I know that I can do this … again.

After an almost year-long battle with cancer, I was ready to have my wish granted. This was from Make-a-Wish, which is a non-profit organization that grants wishes for children around the world facing life threatening illnesses like cancer.

I wanted to go to Hawaii, and stay in a private place that was unlike any other. The trip was planned for last August, so it obviously couldn’t happen. I never did find out where I’d be staying.

Although my journey with cancer continues, this trip is something I can always look forward to. I can go to Hawaii during my treatment, but I want the trip to be a reward for finishing treatment.

I know I am strong enough to beat cancer once again, and then I’ll finally get to see that beautiful ocean. 

Here are some websites where you can donate: 

https://wish.org/ Make a Wish

https://www.calsangels.org/ Cal’s Angels 

https://www.rmhc.org/ Ronald McDonald House

Looking for Stringers

In applying for not-for-profit status, the Evanston RoundTable has reaffirmed the goals it set at its founding in 1998. As a local newspaper, one of its objectives has been to give voice to community leaders but also to those stakeholders who may not always speak up.

As an online source for local news, the RoundTable is seeking written contributions from readers of all faiths, colors, genders, political persuasions, and ages.

Because we value the thoughts and reflections of the City’s young people, the RoundTable is hoping to attract a diverse squad of student reporters and “stringers “ – writers and photographers whose work is vital to newspapers and magazines but who, rather than being on staff, are freelancers.

We hope teachers at other District 65 schools, as well as parents and students themselves, will respond with more student-generated written, photographed and painted or drawn pieces.

Please send these to editor@evanstonroundtable.com, along with name (first names only will be used), school, grade level and, where appropriate, teacher’s name.