Boise High School Hands Students the Mic For Third-annual Symposium 

click to enlarge Ben, a junior at Boise High School, read poetry from his chapbook as part of the third-annual symposium at Boise High School.

Harrison Berry

Ben, a junior at Boise High School, read poetry from his chapbook as part of the third-annual symposium at Boise High School.

Ben's poetry was so racy he issued a content warning to the Boise High School students who had come to hear him read before launching into "A Poem for Crying in Public" on March 21. There were some expletives in it. Other poems touched on sex and the perils of technology. Ben, a junior at Boise High, said some of the topics he likes to write about are addiction, systemic oppression and "the lack of empathy in our world."

"It's this profound sense of loneliness people are subjected to," he said.

For the last three years, Boise High teachers have passed the proverbial mic to their students as part of the Boise High Symposium. It's an annual campus takeover by students, who commandeer classrooms and deliver presentations on topics under a theme. This year, the theme was social justice.

In all, there were approximately 70 presentations delivered by students with titles like "No Child Should Suffer" and "Gender Roles' Impact on Society." In one entitled "Frankenstein," a trio of students discussed alienation, monsters and the misunderstood in the novel, which turns 200 years old this year. Other presentations, like "Gun Violence in the U.S.: What We Can Do," addressed two possible ways to staunch the number and deadliness of mass shootings—closing background check loopholes and instituting a mandatory three-day waiting period between the purchase and receipt of a firearm.

"Yes, we have the right to bear arms," said presenter Kenzie, "but there have to be restrictions on it so we can have a safe society."

click to enlarge - Boise High School students set up a table in one of the halls to help their fellow students register to vote. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Boise High School students set up a table in one of the halls to help their fellow students register to vote.
Still others took the day to engage in more direct action. Boise High Student Body President Acey, a senior, who also spoke at the student walkout March 14, had set up a table in one of the main hallways during the lunch hour to help her fellow students register to vote. She estimated she had registered all but approximately 10 high school seniors. She said it's important to practice "political efficacy" and to encourage it in her fellow students, and that when she's ready, she would like to take up a career in politics.

"Political office is really something I want to run for when I'm done with college," she said.
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