Return to Headlines

IGNITE Awards Celebration showcases student solutions to equity challenges

WCPSS Ignite Presentations Three students speak at podium

May 30, 2024


Our student equity team leaders are fired up to solve inequitable problems in their school communities. IGNITE, which stands for leadIng and solvinG studeNt barrIers Through Equity, is a student program developed by the Student and Educator Engagement (SEE) Team in the Office of Equity Affairs.


Apex, Enloe Magnet, Heritage, Rolesville, and Sanderson high schools formed the district’s first IGNITE student equity teams. The teams in the program’s first cohort were recently recognized at an awards banquet hosted by the SEE Team. Members of the Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Robert P. Taylor, Central Office Administrators, state and local elected officials, and community partners were present at the ceremony. 


The ceremony showcased research posters and formal presentations by each school’s IGNITE equity team leaders. Student equity leaders identified an inequitable challenge that they felt they would be able to impact at their schools. Teams tackled issues they were passionate about, including increasing the engagement among Hispanic students and families, increasing the diversity of students in Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment courses, access to menstrual products, and increasing the diversity of membership in student organizations that promote college readiness. For each problem, they provided and implemented practical, sustainable solutions. 


Through their involvement in IGNITE, which was funded by a grant from Learning for Justice, students were able to utilize several of the district’s equity-focused practices such as centering student voice, creating brave and safe spaces, and building capacity.  


Students used 21st century skills such as collaborating with peers from across the district, and communicating with administrators, essential partners, Board members, and peers. They used creativity to present their projects, and used their critical thinking skills to solve an inequitable challenge that was in their locus of control. 


Once the students presented their projects, they received awards and passed an ignited candle to the student equity leaders of Cohort 2 from Broughton Magnet, Green Hope, Millbrook, Knightdale, and Wake Forest high schools.  


Superintendent Dr. Taylor shared with Cohort 1 that equity is hard work and it’s often misunderstood. He encouraged them to stay IGNITED by using their willpower, motivation, and energy, recognizing that their power is strongest when used effectively. He asked them to pay it forward to the five new schools of Cohort 2 by being their mentors. 


The evening concluded by Dr. Taylor summarizing the incredible leadership of the students in the inaugural IGNITE cohort by telling them “The best equity change-agents don’t do work for people in marginalized communities. They do it with them, as you did.”