In the Kennett Spotlight
By AJ Miguel
KAD’s Be the Change Award Recipients
For the second year, KAD was honored to sponsor the Be the Change award – a competitive $1,000 award that recognizes the next generation of change-makers in our community. One graduate from each of the area’s high schools was selected based on their essay submissions describing a positive social impact they made in their neighborhood or school. This year’s recipients are Karina Lopez(Avon Grove High School), Brenna McGowan (Kennett High School) and Luke Cowart (Unionville High School).
Karina Lopez, an aspiring filmmaker, saw how some students – a group of recent immigrants – were being excluded within Avon Grove High School. Her time with a school club, All Cultures Together Overcome, which works to break down boundaries between groups and promote unity, inspired her to look more closely at the underlying stereotypes associated with this student group. She identified a way to educate others about their classmates and how their biases were unfounded. Karina is working on a documentary that follows four immigrant students; she hopes the film will highlight the common ground among high schoolers and dispel the myths that divide the community. Karina sees the film as a reflection of the larger conversation about the importance of immigrants in today’s society, and a way to encourage acceptance and unity.
Brenna McGowan has been an advocate for inclusivity from a young age. She joined Kennett High School’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance her freshman year, rising to become GSA’s president her senior year. The club fosters diversity and promotes tolerance of the LGBT+ community within the school, and sponsors outreach and educational activities throughout the year. One of the club’s most anticipated and successful events is the annual celebration of Pride Week, which includes a field trip to West Chester University’s Rainbow Connection Conference and a GSA-organized professional panel that allows students and LGBT+ adults to share their personal and unique experiences of coming out. During her time with GSA, Brenna has seen both tangible and subtle results from her activism – from the conversion of two faculty bathrooms to gender-neutral student bathrooms to a decreased occurrence of bullying of LGBT+ students in Kennett High School.
is an Eagle Scout and a volunteer with local organizations like the Kennett Food Cupboard and Willowdale Chapel’s Clubhouse program. He spent his senior year at Unionville High School studying to be an EMT at night and on the weekends. He is also a founding member of the nascent Creekside Preserve, a group that was formed to save almost 73 acres of Big Elk Creek in Chester County from imminent deforestation. Thanks to Luke’s efforts, the area now serves as a refuge for wildlife and a recreational area for families. Luke also identified that two acres of land had been illegally cleared, and led a team to plant an orchard, which will eventually supply fruits and nuts to local populations in need through the Kennett Food Cupboard.
This fall, all three change-makers will enter college; Karina will be majoring in Film Production at Temple University, Brenna will be pursuing a degree in archaeology at West Chester University and Luke will be studying pre-med at Penn State. No doubt each will continue to inspire and lead in their chosen fields and through their activism. KAD is honored to play a small part in helping these graduates #BeTheChange and can’t wait to see what their futures hold. Congratulations to Karina, Brenna and Luke!