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130 Cape Cod Students Attend Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission’s Spring Human Rights Academy     


130 students from 10 different schools across Cape Cod came together to share their work on human rights projects.

May 22, 2023 (Barnstable, MA) – On May 15th, approximately 130 middle and high school students from 10 Cape Cod schools convened for the Spring Human Rights Academy. For the past ten years, the Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission has held the Human Rights Academy twice yearly to ensure and protect the rights of those who reside, work, worship, and play on Cape Cod.  

Ayesha Shafi of Mashpee Middle High School welcomed students and reminded them that students can be leaders of change. 

Student Representative, Ayesha Shafi from Mashpee Middle High School, and Human Rights Coordinator, Leslie Dominguez-Santos, opened the day by emphasizing the important role that students play in ensuring human rights for all. To build off the fall session (which had focused on active listening for conflict mediation) Maura Smith-Stein of Cape Mediation shared tips to be a good listener. Soul Poet, ZYG 808 then captivated students through his thought-provoking lyrics and performance before leading them to write a new verse to his song.  

ZYG 808 performed and inspired students to work jointly to write and perform their verses.

The Spring Academy’s main event was the unveiling of students’ after-school club projects conducted throughout the academic year. Mashpee Middle High School students, Tassia McGrail and Amna Iqbal, were the featured keynote speakers, presenting their “Who We Are” immigration legacy project. Students from Cape Cod Academy, Nauset High School, Upper Cape Tech, and Sandwich High School all shared aspects of their peer mediation work. Students from Provincetown High School shared their individual social issue research projects. Sturgis Charter School students highlighted the work of several of their after-school clubs. Students from multiple schools celebrated their community projects, including blood drives, staging diverse theater productions, community education on addiction, and peace building. Students from The Riverview School, Falmouth High School and Lawrence Middle School also participated. 

Student leadership was on full display. The students were thoughtful and creative in their presentations. After years of virtual engagement, students appreciated the opportunity to interact with human rights student leaders from other schools. These students, and their after-school clubs, are truly working to make Cape Cod a better place. 

Cape Cod Academy hosted this year’s event, with the Family Table Collaborative providing delicious food. 

ABOUT THE BARNSTABLE COUNTY HUMAN RIGHTS ADVISORY COMMISSION: The mission of the Human Rights Advisory Commission is to promote equal opportunity for all persons of Barnstable County regardless of race, color, religious creed, national origin, gender, age, ancestry, sexual or affectional preference marital, family or military status, source of income, neighborhood or disability, where unlawful discrimination exists in housing, employment, education, public accommodations, town or county services, insurance, banking, credit, and health care. Learn more at  

ABOUT BARNSTABLE COUNTY REGIONAL GOVERNMENT OF CAPE COD:  Barnstable County provides exemplary government functions and services to keep our community healthy and safe, promote sustainable growth, and offer a proactive, open government that enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Barnstable County. Learn more at