Students Walk Out in Opposition of Climate Change


Lenox Johnson

Marching for a Cause: North Atlanta seniors (left to right) Janejha Jones, Aria Thomas, and DeAsia Doser. walk out of class to raise awareness of climate change

On September 26, over 800 North Atlanta students walked out of class in opposition to climate change. As students, it is easy to feel as if there is no real impact one can have on such global, large-scale issues, but North Atlanta students are no ordinary group of kids- they’re leaders. The rapid progression of climate change in recent years has left the future of students like these hanging in the balance. 

At 10:30 Thursday morning, students from all over the school put down their pencils and marched from their familiar classrooms into the warm September air of the outside world. They carried with them makeshift posters and signage reading foreboding phrases like, “The Climate is Changing, Why Aren’t We?” and “Don’t Burn my Future.” As they made their way outside, the passion and determination in the air was palpable. “I felt really inspired to be fighting for a common cause with all of my classmates.” said senior Annabelle Sarkissian, “We all have serious work to do if we want to save our planet.”

Spirits were high as the ordinarily empty football field filled with lively excitement. Students buzzed in anticipation of the imminent rally, excited by the familiar faces who would soon take the stage. Student speakers at the event included: Cole Bickerstaff, Danielle Millburn, Soliel Golden, Emily D’achiardi, Bailey Diamond, Sophie Teraso. These globally conscious individuals spoke on many issues concerning climate change and how students could make a positive impact. Junior Sophie Teraso, a speaker at the walkout, cited the frightening fact that by the year 2100, the average temperature will rise by 5.8 degrees as a result of global warming- if we don’t do something.

The walk-out was organized by student leaders Cole Bickerstaff and Danielle Millburn, founders of North Atlanta’s High Steaks campaign, an initiative to remove beef from all APS menus in an effort to lessen APS contribution to climate change. The duo spent weeks recruiting teachers to attend, coordinating with the administration, choosing student speakers, getting the word out to students, and more. On the day of the walk out, both students felt not only accomplished, but honored to have been such an orchestral part of such a momentous event. “All we wanted was to stand as a united front as APS public schools” said Bickerstaff, “I’d like to say thank you to everyone who was actively participating and listening to what we had to say.”

As a major stand against current climate change, the walkout would be described by many as a smashing success for the future of APS students. “I feel so encouraged by the students who came,” said senior Bailey Diamond “We sent a meaningful message to everyone there and that was our goal.”