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Students' activism wins celebrity attention

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Students' activism wins celebrity attention
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A group of middle and high school students from Ithaca are finding their voices. They've organized to protest against hydrofracking. And as Tamara Lindstrom tells us, these young activists are being heard.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- They may be a few years away from casting any ballots, but that's not stopping these students from speaking their minds.

"Just because we're kids doesn't mean we can't speak and doesn't mean we don't have a voice," said Zoe Hill, a sixth grader from Lehman Alternative Community School.

The kids from LACS, New Roots, and Northern Lights in Ithaca have spent the school year organizing and rallying for a cause; they're protesting hydrofracking.

"I was really scared that fracking was going to start happening because all of the land around me was leased. So I immediately started researching as much as I could," said LACS 9th grader Jacob Friga.

"I'm really concerned about our well because my family gets our water out of our well," Hill said. "And we also have a creek behind our house that's not only water for the animals, it's also water for our neighbors because they get their water from that creek. And I don't want it to turn into yucky polluted water."

The group is called New York Youth Against Fracking, and their activism caught the eye of producers at Nickelodeon, and will be featured on the network this month.

Along with the help of parent Edith McCrea and local musicians, the group entered their music video in a statewide contest...and won. Earning a special call of congratulations.

"It was Yoko Ono herself saying I had to call you personally to let you know that I absolutely love the video, that it was amazing, it was funny," said Mariah Prentiss, LACS Teacher Librarian who helped the students organize.

The students say that while winning the contest and being on TV is exciting, what's more important to them is that their voices are being heard.

"I think it's super cool that if back then I could look on me now and say in a year, I'm going to do something about how I feel about this, I think I would be proud of myself," said Izabelle Grimm, a 6th grade LACS student.

The kids are also learning how to engage with people from different viewpoints. As for not yet being able to vote...students remind us, they will be soon.

The students will appear on Nick News February 25th at 8 p.m.


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