LHS Senior Wins Princeton Prize for Race Relations
April 8, 2019
Lindbergh High School senior Amela Sijecic has been honored by Princeton University for her work to make progress toward racial equity in the Lindbergh community.
Victoria L. Goldson, chair of the St. Louis region’s Princeton Prize in Race Relations Committee, presented the award to Sijecic during the 16th annual LHS Renaissance assembly on Friday, April 5.
Sijecic is founder and president of a program at LHS called SIDE With Us. SIDE stands for Students Improving Diversity and Equity. As a Muslim student with immigrant parents, Sijecic has personally experienced discrimination, and her goal in creating SIDE has been to create a safe space where students can come together and speak about harassment, discrimination, racism and social equity issues. Students in SIDE also work to promote diversity and equity education for students and reduce racism and racial conflicts.
Through SIDE With Us, Sijecic has developed detailed curriculum for students in grades 6-12, to educate students on the values of diversity, equity and inclusion. This curriculum, which have been implemented in Lindbergh and neighboring districts, focus on activity-based learning at the middle school level and emphasizes statistics and graphical-analysis-based learning at the high school level.
“I believe that SIDE has simply begun a well-needed conversation in the Lindbergh community regarding inequitable treatment towards students with minority backgrounds,” Sijecic said. “Although the student-led club aspect of SIDE has immensely grown, there is still tremendous work that needs to be done not only in our community but also in the nation as a whole, regarding race relations.”
Principal Dr. Eric Cochran applauds Sijecic for presenting her curriculum proposal to the Board of Education last spring.
“While it is difficult to hear a student say that their experience in the district was sometimes rough, Amela’s positive approach made her message powerful,” Dr. Cochran said. “What has been so impressive about Amela is that she does not just identify a problem, she finds solutions to fix it and offers those solutions to teachers.”
Princeton Prize in Race Relations
The Princeton Prize in Race Relations recognizes and rewards high school students who have had a significant positive effect on race relations in their schools or communities through their volunteer efforts. Recipients receive a cash prize of $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid weekend to a Symposium on Race at Princeton University where they will meet and engage with other prize recipients from across the country. Recipients are also recognized at ceremonies in their local regions by Princeton alumni. Learn more at https://pprize.princeton.edu/.