Students show passion for global issues

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Nicole Tartokovsky – Combating Gender Inequality 

Nicole Tartokovsky (11) is passionate about combating gender inequality. Her passion stems from middle school gym class, where when the gym teachers chose captains, they picked all males because “they [thought] they were just stronger,” she said.

She said no one should be treated differently or feel inferior to others because of their gender.

Tartokovsky is a member of VHHS’s new Dare to Empower club for female-identifying students. She says she’s aware of the fact that people make fun of it “because, they’re like, why can’t guys have that sort of meeting,” she said.

They don’t understand the struggles women have to go through, she said.

“I just laugh it off because I think it’s funny that they even think that,” she smiled.


Carly Sear – Saving the environment one thrift at a time 

Carly Sear (11) is passionate about reducing the waste produced by the fast-fashion industry. She said the clothes are cheap, which incentivizes people to buy more, which, in turn, puts more waste into landfills.

“The whole [fast-fashion] process is extremely wasteful and harmful to a lot of people,” she said. “As consumers, people don’t realize that when they’re buying a five dollar tee shirt, that there’s a real cost behind that,” Sear said.

After watching the Netflix documentary “The True Cost,” she began to think twice about buying new things. Sear said that she does her best to not buy new clothing from retail stores, save for special occasions, and even then she exercises caution to choose something she’ll wear for a long time.

Instead, she opts to go to thrift and consignment shops to fill her closet.

“It’s a great way to help the environment and make sure that the clothing in use is being used enough times to make its production worthwhile,” Sear said.

“It’s also helped me expand my style, because I find things you wouldn’t see at Forever 21 or American Eagle,” she said.


Bobby Cattapan – Bobby does his part to curb global warming 

Bobby Cattapan (10) feels strongly about preserving the environment and curbing global warming.

In light of her recent speech at the UN General Assembly, Cattapan thinks that Greta Thunberg’s activism is “pretty cool,” although he mentioned he thinks it will be tough to sway all of the world leaders.

“I think individuals play a part in curbing climate change, like they did a couple of days ago [at the protests] in 170 countries… but we need government organizations to work on it,” he said.

He also thinks that globally, we need to reduce single-use plastics and switch to sustainable lunching practices.

“If we start taking things like plastic spoons and straws and we start switching to paper or bamboo or something reusable like metal straws, I think that would be really good to help our environment,” Cattapan said.

For his diet, he opts for beans, rice, and protein shakes in place of red meat to lessen his carbon footprint. He says it’s really hard to completely cut out red meat, but he tries his best to stay away.