Four Teens Change The World

“Justin Bieber Carried up Great Wall of China by Bodyguards!”

“Miley Cyrus on Why She Loves Weed!”

These are two examples of headlines that recently appeared in the news about our current teenage icons. But what about the silent teenage heroes who aren’t in it for themselves?

Here are four teens that you can look up to, regardless of your age, and learn from.

Malala Yousafzai (1997- ). Malala began promoting education for women in her Taliban controlled Pakistani town at the young age of eleven in 2009. She became a threat to the Taliban and was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman on her way home from school on October 9, 2012. Miraculously, she survived and made a full recovery. Since then, Malala has gained international support for her cause, named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, became the youngest speaker in the UN, published her own book, and continues to fight for worldwide education.

On The Daily Show:

 Helmuth Hübener (1925-1942). At age sixteen, Helmuth  was one of the youngest victims of the Third Reich sentenced to death for publishing and passing out anti-Nazi leaflets in Hamburg, Germany during World War II. Helmuth recruited three of his friends to help distribute the leaflets. Denounced by a Nazi party member at work, Helmuth was arrested at work by the Gestapo, tried, and eventually beheaded at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin, Germany.

Helmuth’s trial:

Zlata Filipović (1980- ). Known as the “Anne Frank of Sarajevo”, Zlata kept a diary in Sarajevo, Bosnia during the Bosnian War from 1991-1993. It became a national bestseller after she escaped Sarajevo and published it when she was only fifteen. Since the war, Zlata has graduated from the University of Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Sciences, helped with several books, produced a short film, and helped inspire the famous, “Freedom Writers” in Long Beach, California.

Online Speech:

Barbara Rose Johns (1935-1991). Tired of the deplorable conditions in her all black high school, Barbara of Farmville, Virginia, organized a clever student strike at her school in 1951 starting from the auditorium to the county courthouse. She was only sixteen. She tricked the principal of the high school that there were students causing trouble in downtown. With his absence, she forged a memo from the principal to the teachers asking them to bring their students to a special assembly. When they all arrived all they saw was Barbara standing on the stage. After delivering a powerful speech on the necessity of a student strike protesting the unequal conditions, she got the entire high school to march with her to the county courthouse. This single act is seen as the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement and led to the integration of schools all over the nation.

Who are some extraordinary teens that come to your mind that are changing or have helped changed the world? Please comment!

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