Margret Atkinson’s language arts students in Zachary, LA, lead a double life. When not studying literature on historic and contemporary Upstanders, they operate an Educational Corporation aimed at engaging communities on the importance of choices that honor others. Initial investments by Donors Choose and Think It Up seeded the creation of their The Upstander Brand, a six-department, student-run business that produces bookmarks, stickers and wristbands advocating for empathy in action. To date, students have raised $1,000, splitting revenue between capital costs and donations to St. Jude’s Children Research Medical Hospital and the American Cancer Society.
“Students are learning skills essential for success in the 2020 workplace, as articulated by the World Economic Forum,” said Margret, who researched World War II Upstanders across Europe on two Fund for Teachers fellowships. “They’re learning cognitive flexibility, critical thinking and emotional intelligence while cultivating their own autonomy and moral paradigms.”
Seventh and eighth graders founded the nonprofit in 2016 after deeply resonating with Margret’s fellowship research rooted in the Holocaust. Students now self-select one of six departments at the beginning of the school year to create products, forge collaborative community relationships, and produce podcasts, newsletters and blog posts about their mission to create global good.
Meet The Upstander Brand’s leadership team on the video above, produced by the PR/Marketing team and visit Margret’s website to learn more about her fellowships and their role in catalyzing student impact.