KIPP Voices: Dear President-Elect High School Winners

More than 200 KIPPsters participated in the KIPP Voices Letter Writing Contest, penning powerful letters to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris. Read the winning submissions from our high schools students.

Dear President Elect-03


Last month, more than 200 KIPP students submitted letters for the KIPP Voices Letter Writing Contest. Each student wrote to President-Elect Joe Biden and/or Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris suggesting ways they can support an issue or cause the student cares about. Check out the winning submissions from our high school students!


Yumna, 10th-grader at KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy in Colorado 

Dear Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris:

I trust that this letter finds you healthy and safe during these abnormal times. I, Yumna, am a 10th-grade student currently attending KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy. I am writing to address the issue of religious discrimination today, whether it be in an educational or social setting.

Unlike race or gender-based discrimination, religious discrimination has demonstrated a lack of study in the past; however, this is an issue affecting millions of people living in America today. As a young Muslim woman, I am conflicted when I am not able to observe the hijab comfortably without acquiring the glare of neighboring strangers. I am conflicted when I am not able to practice my religion in public without the fear of how others will react, think, or say. Moreover, I am yet conflicted when I hear stories of the religious discrimination that people of other backgrounds (Jews/ Atheists/ Hindus) have had to face simply because of how they choose to view the world. Exhaustively, a person’s view of the world does not justify their employer taking a portion of their paycheck or give reason to hire one person instead of another because of the religious stereotypes that assume who they are. As times are changing quickly, it is vital that America notices its minorities and people of distinct backgrounds to make their lives more suitable and comfortable for them. Further, this country is becoming more diverse than ever before, so it is fundamental that we, America, take into account who we are and how our people are living in this country.

I ask of you, Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris, to raise general awareness of the diverse religious backgrounds that Americans possess and to value the diverse communities in America today. Besides, there is room to practice religious liberty and create laws circulating the religious discrimination that many Americans face daily. By bringing light to this issue, there will be changes in moral judgments about other religions, and the nation will seemingly become more open-minded and cherish/ learn from these different viewpoints. After all, “freedom of religion” is a building block of this country, and without the right to exercise your beliefs, America wouldn’t be where it stands today.



Mariah, 10th-grader at John F. Kennedy High School in Louisiana 

Dear President-Elect Biden,

Congratulations on winning the election. I know you will do a great job as president! I wanted to write you this letter to tell you about a problem that I think needs to be prioritized and some potential solutions I have. As a sophomore at John F. Kennedy High School, I’ve noticed that a lot of kids in schools are dealing with mental health problems like anxiety. Especially during the pandemic, it has been hard for kids and teens to find help and they may feel like they have no one to talk to or trust. Adults will never know what young adults are dealing with unless the kids feel comfortable speaking up.

Thus, my solution is that we need more mental health support programs and support groups for students in schools. We need to develop more programs such as individual and group therapy, more counselors on school property, and more in-the-moment support. There should be counselors so students have someone they are able to talk to, and also these adults can check up one kids every class period and pull them out of class and have a small talk session for about 3 minutes just to see how they are doing. If they aren’t doing well and need more support then it can be longer and the teacher can be notified. We can also offer a talk session for kids and teens during lunch and at the end of the day for an hour and, for kids who are doing online learning, they can have a zoom link for them to go on and talk to an adult or peers.

Thank you for your time and I hope that you can consider this and that we can create better systems for kids and teens dealing with mental health issues. This way, future generations will learn how to prioritize and improve their mental-well being.

I know that you will be a great president and will actually solve problems in the world that need solving and you will make the United States better.



Waleed, 11th-grader at KIPP CONNECT Houston High School in Texas

My name is Waleed, and I have a concern that I would like to bring to your attention. I would like to address the issue that has been around for a long time, having to educate by money. Some students drop out because they do not have the ability to pay for tuition all four years. Getting rid of tuition would eliminate this reason for not graduating. This would also serve to improve college graduation rates, as fewer students would feel the need to drop to part-time status or take a break from education for financial reasons.

If an American college student is able to graduate with less than $10,000 in student loan debt, they are considered lucky (the average is $37,000). However, students from other countries that don’t have tuition already have that luxury; most of their loans come from living expenses and books. Without the weight of student loan debt, more college graduates might buy houses rather than renting apartments. They might buy cars, spend more on healthy food, travel more: In essence, they could contribute more to the economy. Whether it is the influence of parents or knowing you need to pay loans back as quickly as possible, current students are often guided toward “practical” majors that have a more lucrative post-graduation income. If shelling out thousands upon thousands of dollars is no longer a factor, parents and students might feel more relaxed about studying for majors that don’t necessarily have a large paycheck associated with them. Interest and enjoyment from a field of study goes a long way in helping students stick with it and avoid burning out. By negating the large bill of a college education, we could see an increase in the number of students able to attend college. This then creates a more well-educated workforce and a population that has better critical thinking skills. This could lead to more innovation in all areas of society.

Now the main question is where would the money come from? I think that the short and simple answer is taxes. Who gets taxed seems to vary based on who is talking, but it seems certain that the upper echelons of American society will see increased taxes if this passes. There is a likelihood that it will increase the upper-middle-class as well. Or maybe it will all come from Wall Street speculation taxes. The point is, all we know is that someone will pay these dues through taxes. The uncertainty of who will carry the burden is not making many Americans comfortable. Either more money would have to be given to the schools, or they would have to create waitlists. This means that the taxes for education-related purposes might go up, or funding for something else (such as military expenditures) might be diverted to pay the influx of fees.

Thank you for your time and effort in strengthening our country.