Grace Morse, a senior at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, is highly involved in student activism projects both at NOCCA and within the city, including the school’s Feminism Club and finalizing her nonprofit foundation, Read Me My Rights.
Morse enjoyed volunteering with the students from Akili Academy with their submissions to Pizza Poetry, an opportunity for youth in New Orleans to craft their own poems that are distributed with pizza boxes.
“It is an absolute joy to see young thinkers use writing and visual arts as a way to express themselves and further their communication skills as they use rhyme, simile, metaphor, alliteration and other literary devices to convey their perspectives on the world,” says Morse.
Morse is also involved with Suit Up for the Future, a legal program hosted during the summer. During this opportunity, Morse was able to learn local, state and national law, and confirmed that she wants to study law when going to college.
“This program also brought me to a place of realization; I understand now that activism does not (and certainly should not) have a single voice or face. My identity and experiences are what shape the ways I practice my activism, and each individual should be able to advocate in their own way,” says Morse.
Dr. Kate Kokontis, Morse’s teacher and mentor throughout high school, is her inspiration to be a student activist. Kokontis encouraged Morse to navigate the world of academia between being on a Leadership Council, her Humanities III class and Feminism Club.
“Dr. K has shown me that a passionate person can be successful in professional settings without compromising one’s integrity or supporting injustice,” says Morse. “Instead, I’ve learned how to use my writing and my research abilities to re-discover and unpack the social and political foundations of my life and be critical of the institutions in my life that disenfranchise and degrade people and the environment.”
Morse is finishing her final year at NOCCA and wants to attend a university that allows her to study language, history law and communication. Morse would like to go down a career path that involves law, linguistics and writing.