In the Fall of 2023, LEAD STL welcomed 68 students from South City Academy, Grand Center Arts Academy, Jennings Jr. High, and Hixson Middle School for the Cross-District Partnership Program, an immersive experience designed to connect spatially diverse school districts for a semester of collaborative learning rooted in cultural exploration, leadership, and artivism.
Students were empowered to enact positive change in their schools, communities and the greater Saint Louis area by exploring identity, intersectionality, empathy, and advocacy as means to support themselves and their community. They stepped out of their comfort zones to understand each other’s perspectives, and critically think about the needs of their peers and neighbors. School partners attended field trips to the Griot Museum of Black History, and Central Reform Congregation, exploring Black and Jewish culture. They continued their cross-cultural leadership training with a presentation on student involvement with mentors from undergraduate cultural groups at Washington University in St. Louis, and designed the change they wanted to see during an Artivism workshop with our artist in residence, Brock Seals.
In February, students celebrated their work by gathering at Grand Center Arts Academy's Sun Theatre for “Artful Alliances,” a showcase that displayed student artivism projects and offered participants a platform to share their journey of growth with LEAD STL.
LEAD STL recognized students for their leadership, charisma, and dedication to driving positive change among their peers, and selected two students from each school to receive a campership to one of their immersive summer camp sessions to further nurture students' leadership and advocacy skills in a dynamic learning environment.