Naomi Teshome started out small.
In middle school, she got involved in being an activist and leading walkouts. It felt good to disrupt the system. To make not only her voice heard but others who could not speak.
Over time, she saw that her efforts, while important and virtuous, weren’t creating the impact she desired. That’s when she turned her gaze to legislative reform, using her power and brilliance to affect change at the state and national level.
Naomi, an 11th grade student at St. Anthony Village High School, who is also the president of Key Club and a member of the Minnesota Youth Council, got her start in public policy talking to youth in middle school classrooms.
“I would go into the middle school classes – Ms. Schwintek’s and Ms. Pivec’s – and talk about how they, the students, can amplify their own voices,” Naomi said.
After these presentations, Naomi felt honored that her work was being seen and heard, leaving her inspired to continue her progress.
Her involvement in the Minnesota Youth Council (MYC), the only state youth council in the country, catapulted her involvement in legislation. She frequently meets with other school representatives from different congressional districts and reviews bills to discuss with local senators and state representatives.
As a PSEO (post-secondary enrollment option) student, Naomi takes a public policy class at the Minneapolis Community Technical College (MCTC). There, she can explore ideas and concepts that impact the world community, not just the United States. Armed with the knowledge that different countries have different ideas on how to tackle issues, say climate change, Naomi is empowered to bring her inspiring ideas back to students at St. Anthony - New Brighton Schools.
“What I’ve seen throughout the years is that there were so many other student leaders before me. They had such an impact on my community that I don’t want that pattern to die out,” Naomi said.
“When I leave, I want other people to create disruptions. To put themselves out there.”
She’s working on both a lead pollution bill and the Minnesota Youth Council bill, which would make the group state-funded and a part of the Minnesota government – a first in the nation.
When she’s not helping rewrite legislation, speaking to classrooms or leading discussions with her peers, Naomi guides students through volunteer activities in Key Club, a Kiwanis partner focused on community service.
“It’s something that grounds me and that is so tight knit in the community. Key Club reminds me that I'm still really young and can do something,” Naomi said.
Naomi hopes to explore foreign policy and international relations, with an emphasis on environmental science, beyond high school. She has big plans for her life and wants to use her senior year to ground herself and come back to the community.
“I want to make changes to my school district that are visible and impactful to students’ lives, and to also have more fun,” said Naomi.
Thank you Naomi for inspiring others to shine bright! You are Ever Brighter.
- Ever Brighter