Ella Meek

2024 - MIAMI

Ella Meek, a senior at Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Florida, created the I CARE Day event in response to incidents of racism, antisemitism and homophobia at her school. The day’s purpose was to foster an inclusive and respectful environment through the principles represented in the CARE acronym: Celebrate differences, acknowledge challenges, respect everyone and elevate others. The events of I CARE Day, which included cultural showcases and a collaborative flower mural, symbolized the beauty of diversity. As the founder, Ella conceptualized the event, collaborated with fellow students and school leaders and witnessed its impact on nearly 5,000 students. The day promoted racial equity and understanding through fun and creative activities that facilitated meaningful interactions, and its success in fostering empathy and appreciation for diversity has inspired plans for its annual recurrence. To ensure the event's legacy, Ella is mentoring a successor on its planning and coordination while compiling a manual for future leaders. I CARE Day ignited important conversations about race, culture and identity among students. It cultivated an atmosphere that promoted empathy and recognition of our shared human experience. While eliminating bigotry can feel like an insurmountable task, public displays of overwhelming support, like those at I CARE Day, can create an inclusive community where individuals feel empowered to embrace their authentic selves. Ella's commitment to preserving I CARE Day's legacy underscores the significance of fostering a supportive and inclusive school community. Her efforts have advanced diversity and understanding at Cypress Bay High School.