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Canyon High students meet author

Task force travels to L.A. for leadership activity

Posted: October 13, 2009 10:24 p.m.
Updated: October 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The Student Task Force members of Canyon High School, who are part of a youth leadership training program, are thrilled by any opportunity to meet with human rights advocates.

So it was no surprise that the chance to meet a Human Rights Watch researcher and a famous author all in one day resulted in collective elation.

On Sept. 24, students from across Los Angeles, including Dakotah Rains, Mariah Mahotz, Kimberly Stephenson, Keir Chapman, Kaela Cayama and Megan Scherich from Canyon High, met at Wildwood School in Santa Monica to listen to Peter Bouckeart, Director of the Human Rights Watch Emergencies Team Division.

Bouckeart and his team of researchers document human rights violations in areas of conflict like Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Uganda.

He stressed the importance of speaking with witnesses of human rights abuses in an effort to make their stories heard.

Bouckeart uses the testimonies and interviews when briefing members of the U.S. Congress, United Nations and International Criminal Court on "hot" spots of international conflict.

Following his presentation, students had the opportunity to ask Bouckeart questions about his observations and to thank him for such a compelling presentation.

The Canyon STF members then continued on to the Zimmer Children's Museum, located in Los Angeles.

YouThink, an arts education program, hosted Ishmael Beah, author of New York Times Best Seller "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of A Boy Soldier."

Beah commenced the event by meeting with students, autographing their novels and speaking of his life as a child soldier in Sierra Leone.

He then gave advice to the students on their role in advocating for children's rights and providing a voice for the voiceless.

At the close of the event, Canyon High students snagged a couple of photos with Beah and expressed their gratitude to him for sharing his experiences and wisdom.

Megan Scherich is co-president of the Student Task Force and a senior at Canyon High School.


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