Students to Receive Princeton Prize in Race Relations
Congratulations to Morristown-Beard seniors Rubana Islam '12 and Elaina Aquila '12, who have been selected to receive the 2012 Princeton Prize in Race Relations.
The Princeton Prize in Race Relations was established by Princeton University in 2003 in order “to promote harmony, respect, and understanding among people of different races by identifying and recognizing high school age students whose efforts have had a significant, positive effect on race relations in their schools or communities.” Its purpose is to identify and commend young people who are working to increase understanding and mutual respect among all races.
Rubana and Elaina are receiving the Princeton Prize for their work creating a multimedia project that reflects the way in which MBS community members consider themselves individually and as members of the larger school community. Rubana teamed up with student photographer Elaina, to plan a pictorial video showcasing misperceptions, stereotypes and diverse identities amongst students, faculty and staff. They emailed the community asking for volunteers to be photographed individually with a chalkboard and one written sentence that the person deems is a misperception or stereotype about him or herself.
Rubana and Elaina projected that they would have approximately 25 volunteers to use for this project. However, as word got out, more people, adults and students alike, clamored to be included. As the photographs were being taken, side conversations concerning the project had quickly ensued. The conversation went beyond the project location into classrooms and lunch tables. People began discussing what they wrote and the meaning behind it. For many, they felt liberated by having a forum to articulate their feelings and for others, it allowed them a space to share their viewpoints.
Both adults and students began seeking out Rubana and Elaina and requesting to be included as they realized that this project was quickly developing into something special. When the selected photo dates concluded, more than 100 people were photographed. The video premiered at a January morning meeting and was robustly well-received by the community.