Speak Up! Speak Out!
Speak Up! Speak Out! is an innovative civic education program for middle and high school students designed to teach young people about their communities and help them discover the many ways they can make a difference.
Speak Up! Speak Out! participants work together as teams to identify community problems, craft innovative solutions that address them, and present their findings to community leaders at the end-of-semester Civics Fair. Winning teams receive funds to use toward the implementation of their solutions. Fairs take place in Austin each fall and Dallas each spring.
Students Set the Agenda
This civic education project encourages students to become active participants in their communities. The distinguishing element of Speak Up! Speak Out! is that the students are responsible for determining the issues that will be addressed and developing viable solutions.
Study, Solve, and Share
Over the course of the semester, classes research their communities, select a problem that interests and motivates them, and develop projects, proposals and/or solutions to present to the community. Students present their projects at a Civics Fair held near the end of the fall and spring semesters.
Creativity and Communication
Participants are encouraged to use their diverse talents, experiences, and ideas to develop their projects. This project is unique in that it strives to give SUSO participants the opportunity to learn how young people can be active citizens and to create messages that will be heard by community leaders.
Frequently asked Questions
When and where is the Speak Up! Speak Out! Civics Fair?
The Fair will take place on November 18th at the Texas State Capitol building.
What types of problems do the teams study?
Participants are free to select whatever problem they feel most affects them, their neighbors, and/or the community. Past projects have examined: traffic problems, bullying, dropout rates, teenage pregnancy rates, environmental issues, and graffiti.
What is the time commitment for SUSO?
The SUSO curriculum and projects are flexible. While there is not a set time limit for working on projects or using the lessons, students are expected to do thorough research and craft well thought-out solutions. Most participating classes work on their projects for several weeks during the fall or spring semester.
Is there a cost or fee to participate?
No, SUSO is free to participants!
Is parking provided?
Yes. Parking is provided for all participants, teachers, judges, chaperones, and volunteers. Bus parking is also provided.
Is a meal provided?
Yes. Lunch and a snack will be provided.
Is there a limit on the amount of students I can bring?
Individual teachers bring no more than 30 students. If you have a special circumstance, please contact us!
Like Speak Up! Speak Out! on Facebook to get updates on the Civics Fair, see videos and photos of student projects, get advice from SUSO alumni, and connect with other SUSO participants, teachers, and mentors.
"I learned that some of the small things in life that are easy to ignore and pass up can make a difference in someone else's life. When people get together, they can change anything." Garret M. Pooley, student at Highlands High School
"SUSO gives us teens a space to speak out and let our voices be heard." Alezia Olivia, student at L.G. Pinkston High School
"They really had a passion for these issues. It really makes you feel great about what they can do when they put their minds to it." SUSO judge, Press Secretary for Kinky Friedman