Katia Apedoh

2024 - ALABAMA

Katia Apedoh is a senior at Hoover High School (HHS) in Hoover, Alabama, where she serves on the leadership council of the Student Diversity Council (SDC). After a teacher used a racial slur in her presence, Katia founded "What We Wish Teachers Knew," a diversity initiative for teachers within the Hoover City School District. The initiative combines student testimonies involving teacher interactions similar to hers, secondary research on diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom, and primary research from HHS teachers as a set of resources that faculty review every school year. Topics covered include avoiding offensive language, being mindful of different religions and identifying microaggressions. As an SDC member, Katia has organized an East/West African exhibit for her school's Diversity Expo, spoken at a Hoover Board of Education meeting for Black History Month and volunteered with local nonprofit Hoover-AHEAD for Juneteenth. Katia’s exhibit at the Diversity Expo reached more than 100 HHS students. The expected outreach for "What We Wish Teachers Knew" will be more than 300 Hoover City School staff members. As teachers adapt their classroom methods based on the resources, the number of impacted students within the district will grow exponentially. After graduation, Katia plans to attend Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. She will leave "What We Wish Teachers Knew" in the hands of trusted HHS students and looks forward to joining Washington and Lee's Student Association for Black Unity.