William Reed '15

William Reed '15 joined the Cambridge Youth Council (CYC) in his first year at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, to get more involved in his new community. The Youth Council, founded in 2012, is a diverse group of high school students looking to improve the lives of youth in their city, with a particular focus on low-income, marginalized individuals. Their projects often tackle embedded racial inequities and persistent opportunity gaps within the school district.
William served on the Youth Council for all four of his high school years, rising to co-chair his senior year. Under his leadership, the Youth Council achieved a big success: working with the City of Cambridge to subsidize MBTA transit passes for students at Rindge who receive free or reduced lunch. After many meetings and discussions with the Cambridge School Committee, City Councilors and the Mayor, the program was approved in 2019 and is still in place.

Another achievement William is proud of was addressing an inequity in the school attendance policy.
"Students who lived further away from the school and didn't have parents who could drive them had higher numbers of absences. After a certain number of absences from a class, school policies called for a student's final grade to be dropped by ten points. This was disproportionately affecting students who were low-income." The Youth Council lobbied the School Committee to amend the attendance policy, adding a "buy-back" clause whereby a student can go to their Dean and work with their teachers to "buy-back" their grade points.

William is currently attending Middlebury College in Vermont, where he is majoring in English Literature. He aspires to become a journalist. Reflecting on his experience with the Cambridge Youth Council, William says, "It was eye-opening. Getting to work with such a diverse group of people to address inequities was the highlight of it all."
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