EHS Students Create Powerful Messages for their Peers
In a skilled, creative, and powerful display of artistic messaging, a group of Everett High School students created vivid and powerful images for the 2023 Photovoice Community Showcase.
Funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Office of Problem Gambling Services and overseen locally by the Cambridge Health Alliance, the project engages youth in using the Photovoice method to explore underage gambling and related public health issues in their community.
The photos were unveiled on Tuesday, May 9th inside the EHS Cafeteria. Participating artists are juniors Gabriel Ponce Lemus, Amourah Durrant, Simran Tamang, Sophia Gurung, and Joao Pedro Santos, and freshman Salina Shrestha.
Leading the effort on behalf of CHA were Youth Coordinator of Community Health Youth Initiatives Marie Yveline Antoine, Department of Community Health Improvement Program Manager Jean Granick, and Department of Community Health Improvement Director, Youth Initiatives Jaime Lederer. The project received funding from the Department of Public Health, culminating in the May 9th showcase.
The students’ photographs and captions were displayed on high-quality poster boards, as well as in a full color program filled with information about Photovoice and the participants. As usual, the EHS Culinary Arts Department provided delicious sweet and savory treats for the occasion. School Committee Chairman Mike Mangan and State Representative Sal DiDomenico joined Superintendent Priya Tahiliani in attending the event and congratulating the artists.
“I never cease to be amazed by how effectively our students advocate for themselves and each other,” Superintendent Tahiliani said. “And I am equally impressed with the skills and creativity of our artists. Put those two traits together and you have Photovoice.”
Beginning in November of 2022, CHA professionals held weekly afterschool sessions with the students, teaching them about the Photovoice process — a participatory approach of storytelling and documenting environmental, community conditions through photography. This includes identifying a problem in their community, learning about the root-causes of this problem, and developing a set of actions that address the problem.
Through this process, participating youth gain knowledge and skills that empower them to understand, critically assess, and communicate those factors that place them and people in their communities at risk for underage and problem gambling. This approach places youth—particularly those who experience disparities and inequitable balances of power—at the center of community change.
"Through this project, I have seen what Everett looks like in the eyes of youth,” said Marie Yveline Antoine. “It has been a pleasure working with this group and seeing this group of young people grow and use their voices to express themselves through photography!"
Everett High’s participating artists shared 3 or 4 images, with captions, for the unveiling on May 9th. In addition to photographs about problem gambling, the students’ artwork included messages about littering, vaping, and homelessness.
Additionally, there was a parent component to this program where the youth educated their parents/caretakers on the gambling prevention.
CHA Youth Coordinator of Community Health Youth Initiatives Marie Yveline Antoine
and Everett High School artists.