Signal Mountain Student Named To Inaugural Junior Council

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Week Junior, the only weekly newsmagazine delivering news and current affairs directly to kids, announces its inaugural Junior Council, a collective of "Generation Alpha’s most passionate, vocal young leaders, designed to empower the next generation of trailblazers to speak out on the causes that matter most to them." 

“We are incredibly excited to welcome the first class of Junior Council,” said Andrea Barbalich, Editor-in-Chief of The Week Junior. “The council members are extremely passionate about using their voices to make a difference and representing their peers on the issues that matter most to them, ranging from equality to the environment. We are excited to help them turn their ideas into action, in the pages of our magazine and in the world around them.”  Nissa Ruth, age 10, of Signal Mountain, is one of 12 kids selected from more than 1,500 applicants from across the nation. The Week Junior editors said they were wowed by her passion for helping others and making a change in the world. 

Selected from more than 1,500 applicants, the inaugural Junior Council includes 12 kids, ages 8 to 14, from 10 states across the country, representing the diversity of ideas, interests and beliefs in this generation of American children. The first-ever Junior Council consists of: 

Augustus (8, NY) is a tap dancer and history buff who believes in doing away with stereotypes. He told The Week Junior, “There should be no box that people have to stay in.”

Rozaria (8, MO) is an aspiring chef, songwriter and crafter who loves learning about the world and figuring out ways to make an impact. She believes that “Our actions have consequences, and people need to learn as much as they can about nature and how to take care of it.”

Eliana (9, TX) is passionate about addressing climate change and believes that men and women should receive equal pay. She loves travel and has discovered that “Laughter is the same in every language.” 

Alexander (9, VA) is a blackbelt in Taekwondo and completed two triathlons last year to raise money for childhood cancer. He believes that “It only takes one person to change things for the better.”

Hala (9, MI) loves singing and performing and wants to work toward having everyone accept people for who they are.

Nissa (10, TN) is an avid reader who finished more than 100 chapter books last year. She’s passionate about animals and the environment and told The Week Junior, “I like to speak up for what’s right.” 

Ryca (9, WA) is bilingual, speaking Persian with his mom and brothers and English with his dad. He is dedicated to fighting climate change and hopes to help get plastics out of the ocean and reduce airplane emissions by creating an electric airplane. 

Garrett (10, CA) is a blackbelt in Taekwondo, serves on his school’s student council, and believes that healthcare should be available to all. 

Symphony (11, VA) loves animals and wants to make sure they are treated with kindness. She also cares about helping others in need and hopes that the Junior Council will help her to “Learn how to speak up and change the world.” 

Eva (13, KY) just completed a project on civil rights for student leadership program. She believes that “People who try to justify injustice on any level miss the point of human rights.” 

Owen (13, WA) is an animal lover and sports fan who delivers newspapers and stays on top of local and national news. He wants to work toward ending racial discrimination. 

Jackson (14, VT) loves nature and worked with his teacher on a project to save the American Chestnut tree. He’s also an animal lover who believes that “Animals deserve just as good a life as humans.” 

Beginning in January, the Junior Council will meet virtually with The Week Junior editors and a panel of mentors twice a month to dive into the issues of the day, engage in debate, hear from guest speakers, receive hands-on editorial lessons and ultimately work on creating content for The Week Junior magazine. Junior Council members will develop skills in both journalism and activism, learning how to identify the issues they care about, how to turn them into story ideas and action steps, and how to encourage others to do the same.

“This generation of children is engaged and informed about today’s issues,” said Ms. Barbalich. “Junior Council will give 12 amazing kids the opportunity to share their views, be a voice on behalf of their peers, engage in healthy debate, and learn how to use their words and ideas to make a difference in the world.”

A September survey of more than 700 US students ages 8-14, conducted by The Week Junior and YouGov, found that 78 percent of kids believe that their actions can make a positive difference in the world, and 81 percent want to inspire kids to make positive changes.

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