Are you a high school- or college-age youth with an idea for changing the public education system? Are you looking for a way to introduce your ideas to a wider audience?  

The Seattle Times Student Voices project is launching into its sixth year, and we are looking for youth to write essays about how schools can do a better job of serving students. We’ll work with you to polish your essay, then publish it in The Seattle Times this school year.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, experts, educators and students alike have said that schools cannot go back to “normal.” Business as usual, so to speak, is not helping all students succeed and access the resources they need. We want to know what you think.

Maybe you want schools to have more mental health counselors or a more multicultural faculty. Maybe you want to talk about sex ed or graduation requirements. Maybe you want to spotlight an educator or program that’s helping to make things right. 

Pitch us your ideas and tell us how you’d like to shed light on the subject through an essay, short video or audio piece — even artwork or a social media story. We’re interested in your ideas for stories and how to tell them. 

Up to 12 young writers will be selected to participate. You’ll work directly with Seattle Times journalists and peers in your Student Voices cohort to craft your work and make sure that your ideas are understood and supported. 

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Need some inspiration? Past Student Voices writers have tackled what it’s like to have a disability in public schools, why Black faculty matter on university campuses and how they learned to thrive as a first-generation college student.

The project is for any Washington teen or young person who is currently in school or has recently left the public education system for any reason. Those who complete their work for publication will receive a $100 gift card. 

View the application and learn how to fill it out here: st.news/studentsapply. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions under “How do I apply?” 

For more information, contact Education Lab engagement editor Jenn Smith at jennsmith@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2925.