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Samantha Smith Challenge Update

Diane Wilson Awtt Portrait

The 2024 Samantha Smith Challenge (SSC) once again is inspiring students to engage with issues of truth, justice, and freedom and work for the common good. Nearly 325 students in Maine and over 100 students beyond Maine in Kentucky, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Washington are participating in this year’s SSC. 

Bill Bigelow Awtt Portrait

Students are researching a wide variety of topics from what it means to be a citizen, to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, to the environment, to Wabanaki studies. They are connecting with AWTT portrait subjects to further their knowledge about their chosen issue.  Students are talking with Diane Wilson, comparing the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Maine; with Bill Bigelow about the idea of quality education; to LeAlan Jones about the importance of creating sustainable communities for young people; and to Amara Ifeji about climate action.

Lealan Jones Awtt Portrait

These students will take action and advocate for these issues by using the creative arts. Artist Robert Shetterly and Director of Education Connie Carter are visiting in person and on zoom with all participating schools to learn more about these projects and to share with them more about Americans Who Tell the Truth. 

Amara Ifeji Awtt Portrait

On May 22, 2024, students will gather at Thomas College for the Samantha Smith Challenge Celebration to share their work with each other.  Schools outside of Maine will showcase their work at a variety of community events.  Over 400 middle and high school students are taking steps to stimulate dialogue around citizenship, education, and activism–just like Samantha did over forty years ago.

Bring Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) original portraits to your community.