What began as welcoming students back to the 2020-21 school year after quarantine on the third floor hallway has blossomed into a permanent vision for the Oak Lawn Community High School social studies department.
The third floor hallway, plastered in red, white, and blue, featured life-size cutouts of presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Government classes featured local elections. Teachers taught students how to register to vote in Illinois. The long history of voter rights took center stage during an election plagued with controversy, including the monumental Voting Rights Act of 1965. At the end of the hallway stood a ballot box waiting for students to cast their ballots.
By February and March, Black History Month and Women's History Month figures decorated the hallway, maintaining the focus of voting rights, specifically the Shelby Case of 2013. In order, the figures of Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Shirley Chisolm, Stacey Abrams, and Kamala Harris flanked the hallway, each woman in their own right chipping away at the glass ceiling.
Department Chair Kristin Kuchyt hopes to expand the project throughout the hallways when students are in school next year, while continuing to utilize the help the USH classes receive from Mrs. Wargin, Ms. Odeh, and Mrs. Black’s classes. “US History classes have always led interactive, cross-curricular projects, but the constraints of the pandemic limited teachers this year. But they knew the importance of the environment and students being immersed in the cultures that define an election year in particular,” said Kristin.