For these teens, being the change they want to see starts with a website

Updated: Jan. 15, 2020 at 5:41 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - What started as a Social Studies project for 18 ninth graders at Punahou School developed into a website they designed called Goal Sixteen.

The project is named after the United Nations sustainable development goal 16: To promote peaceful and inclusive societies and provide access to justice for all.

And the site is envisioned as a hub for all high school students to tackle tough subjects like cyberbullying, human trafficking and sex discrimination.

"It's an opportunity for us to have an impact on things that have an impact on us. So it's kind of about accountability and about being able to change things that matter," said student Ezra Levinson.

The students produced videos and wrote articles that look at the issues from their perspective. They want to inspire their audience to take action.

"Having a website that has writing contests, film, music, social media, they were like, 'This is a way to reach our generation,'" teacher Sam Vierra said.

The group is now accepting stories from high school students statewide in its “Write the Future” essay contest.

“It’s a really great opportunity for students to raise their voices, to express their concerns, the issues that they face in the world that we live in right now,” student Isabel Cheever said.

Prizes will be awarded and some essays will be published on the GoalSixteen website.

“The more people who submit, the more change we can make together,” Levinson said.

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