2019 – MICHIGAN
Kristopher Hill is a senior at University Prep Science and Math High School in Detroit. Kristopher created and directs the group Engaging in Our New Surroundings (EONS), which involves students from University Prep and Grosse Pointe South HS. Drawing on his own experiences attending predominantly white suburban schools and an all African American urban charter school, Kristopher recognized that urban students receive sub-par education that undermines their potential in higher education. He also observed that both white and black schools disadvantage black students, albeit in different ways. Through school exchanges between students from the under-resourced, black urban school, University Prep, and from the well-resourced, predominantly white suburban school 15 minutes away, Grosse Pointe South HS, EONS allows students to see educational inequity first-hand. Kristopher arranges for students from each school to shadow a student at the other school, following them to their classes and eating lunch, while also observing the similarities and differences between their respective communities. He organizes these experiences and facilitates a debriefing period among the exchange students, as they recognize that societal barriers and inequitable resources have blinded students at both schools from seeing each other as human. In addition, Kristopher was invited to speak as part of a Michigan Department of Civil Rights Commission panel, where he advocated for the Detroit public school system to diversify the curriculum to promote career and college readiness. As a metro Detroit Social Justice Fellow, Kristopher also planned a social justice training event and Youth Leadership Conference, where he helped students learn to effect real and meaningful change in their communities.