Millions of people across the world participated in the global climate strike on Friday, Sept. 20.
Students at Islander Middle School (IMS) were no exception. Rebecca de Broglio, an IMS eighth grader, along with a small team of students, organized the school’s youth climate strike.
She and her fellow organizers have been preparing for the climate strike for the past few weeks. Through signs in the halls, school announcements and social media, they worked to spread the word.
Those efforts worked.
Waves of students with large signs walked out of the front entrance of the school at 10 a.m.
Students left at 10 a.m. to represent the 10 years scientists say the world has left to slow the worst effects of climate change, de Broglio said.
“If the climate is changing, why aren’t we?” she said.
All the students were invited to leave class and meet on the turf field beside the track at South Mercer Playfields, outside IMS.
IMS administrators excused students from class. A letter was sent to families earlier in the week about the event.
“While this event is not sponsored or endorsed by IMS, we, along with other schools in the Mercer Island School District, respect the rights of students to peacefully demonstrate in an appropriate manner. It is your decision, as a family, to decide whether your son or daughter participates in the walk out,” the letter said.
The letter continued with the administration’s emphasis that safety is the “number-one priority for students.”
“We want to make sure to respect the choices of our students. Some will choose to participate in the walkout and some will choose to stay in class,” the letter said.
Nearly the entire student body left class at 10 a.m. on Friday. De Broglio and her fellow organizers took to the metal bleachers with a bullhorn. Each speaker expressed the need for action in regard to climate change.
“It’s hard to focus on homework when your house is on fire,” eighth grader Anastasia Lavrinovich said before the crowd. “Today, we’re joining the millions of students around the globe in the climate strike… Instead of staying silent, we’re asking people to stand with us.”
De Broglio took the bullhorn.
“This is not another generation’s problem,” she said. “It’s our problem and we have to stand up, and say ‘Enough.’ The seas are rising and so are we.”
The sea of students cheered and waved signs that read, “We only have one earth,” “I’m missing a test for this,” and “Climate justice now.”
De Broglio closed the strike by saying all change starts small.
“It starts by standing in a field,” she said. “All change starts like this. We have to make a change. Our lives depend on it.”
Following the strike, de Broglio said she was overwhelmed by the number of students who participated.
“I thought maybe 50 kids might come out,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it when the hallways were packed as we were heading out to the field. I think almost every student came out.”
Safia de Broglio, Rebecca’s mother, along with Kristen Lavrinovich, Anastasia’s mother, were in attendance during the climate strike.
“I’m so proud of them,” Safia de Broglio said. “It’s amazing what they’ve done and what they’re doing.”