In April, a group of Upper School students took part in the Echo Foundation’s 23rd Annual Echo Student Dialogue, this year virtually with NY Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof. In year’s past, Country Day students have attended the in-person event, conversing with Nobel Peace Prize winners and national and world leaders.

This year was no less exciting, as the students met during lunch for over a month to discuss a curriculum that centered around Mr. Kristof’s work for the Times and was actually co-authored by Anjali Kapadia ’21. Anjali served as a 2020 Echo Footsteps Ambassador, a summer internship in which she collaborated with other teens to create a 240-page document to support the discussion. In the foreword to the resources, she wrote: “Change is incremental and not always noticeable but we, as the next generation, have a duty to understand the problems of today and create the solutions of tomorrow. Left or right, Republican or Democrat we are all undoubtedly human and the beauty of this life is our ability to understand the world from our lens as well as from our neighbor’s. Humanity links us together, we can either choose to strengthen that bond, or go astray.”

Coddy Coddington, History Department chair and advisor to the student participants, says: “We had many discussions covering all aspects of the use of media, journalism, censorship, and cancel culture among many other areas.”

The program is open to any interested students. “It’s a great opportunity for those kids who have the time and want to be connected to modern events. They are furthering their understanding of the world and how it works,” says Mr. Coddington.

Six students in front of screen that says Social Justice and the Media

Anjali Kapadia, Laura Saavedra, Ellie Dixon, Jai Mehta, CeCe Broadfoot, Kennedy Wallace, and Sophia Saxonhouse took part in this year’s program, and teachers Amber Allensworth and Ana Chapman also helped Mr. Coddington with the preparations.   

“This was a great group of students to work with as they listened and also expressed their opinions and ideas,” says Mr. Coddington. “By taking the time to understand the context of media and how it is used to influence our ideas on everything from Tiananmen Square to the conflict in Sudan, they become better world citizens in understanding the complex nature of these events and the role they can play.”