Ms. Khadijah Hilmy, a tenth grade student at The Greene School (TGS) and resident of Johnston, RI, has been elected to the National EL Education Student Advisory Council (SAC). The Greene School is an intentionally diverse and inclusive public charter school serving 200 students in grades 9-12, across 25 communities and Rhode Island’s only Expeditionary Learning School (eleducation.org).
As a SAC member, Ms. Hilmy will be able to use her voice to shape and inform education decisions that directly impact EL schools across the United States. During her two-year service commitment, she will have the opportunity to:
Ms. Hilmy's particular area of interest is environmental education. In fact, she is a member of TGS’s Rhode Island Environmental Education Association (RIEEA) Youth Leaders Group for the second consecutive year.
Ms. Hilmy credited her mother with her interest, saying "My mother instilled in me the importance of caring for the planet. In fact, we initiated a recycling program at The Islamic School of Rhode Island, where I was a student before I enrolled at The Greene School. Because of how much I value environmental education, I try to lead and model practices that can protect the world for generations to come."
She added, “I've always enjoyed spending time outdoors and traveling the world. Noticing the beauty of the environment, I have become concerned that the future generations may not have as much access to the natural resources Earth has to offer."
Ms. Hilmy said of her appointment to the Council, “I am looking forward to working with other students
who are committed to redefining education and learning and sharing ideas, opinions, beliefs, and actions."
She was encouraged to apply for a position on the Council by TGS’s principal, Ms. Alex Edelmann. Ms. Hilmy applied because she viewed becoming a part of the Council as an opportunity to work with other students who share her strong commitment to environmental education and to learn from them. Her hope is that she will learn about the programs that have been implemented at their schools and possibly have the opportunity to introduce some of these programs at TGS.
Ms. Edelmann said, “We are very proud of Khadijah and her commitment to environmental education. Over the course of the next two years, she will be meeting with the National EL Foundation Student Advisory Council on a monthly basis to assist in the planning of events, as well as future Better World Day programs and conferences. We are looking forward to the creative ideas and positive contributions she will undoubtedly make to this effort. I’m thrilled to have Khadijah representing the voices of our student body and providing feedback and guidance on real issues in education. We need more voices like hers amplified to people that are listening. She is a changemaker.”
Reflecting on Ms. Hilmy's application for the Council, Jessica Wood, Associate Director of Experiential Marketing, EL Education, commented “One thing that made an impression on me from Khadijah’s application was her previous work with environmental advocacy! Being able to have that positive history in advocacy is incredible! Her passion for the environment is astonishing. Not only does she protect it herself, but she also contributes by teaching others. This proves that she is interested in advocacy and has experience speaking with others about changes she believes need to be made. Khadijah's environmental stance and passion for improving the world are beautiful to see in a young person.”
Last year Ms. Hilmy participated in the EL Foundation’s Better World Day in May 2022. Better World Day is an annual, national event showcasing student learning that contributes to a better world. Students work in partnership with each other and their local communities on this day to engage in and celebrate meaningful student work that positively impacts the world around them. Students present learning projects and engage in acts of service that demonstrate the power of EL Education’s vision for public school, which is a place where children become great scholars and active citizens with the capacity to make a positive impact.
This July, Ms. Hilmy will make a presentation at the EL Education Institute for Leadership in Boston with her school-based advisor, Alex Edelmann. In addition, she has been invited to attend and present at the 2023 EL Education National Conference in Denver as a student ambassador with over 1,500 participants.