Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School senior Keith Chatinover has won the High School Activist of the Year Award. This award is being given out by the Massachusetts High School Democrats for Keith’s tremendous work to conserve the environment and educate about environmental issues. His work is being recognized for visibly making a difference in our community. The award will be presented on Saturday, May 19, at the High School Democrats of America New England Summit. The event runs from 9 am to 4 pm at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston. Keith will make an acceptance speech at the summit.
Keith came to Martha’s Vineyard from Chatham, N.J., in 2011, his parents in search of a school that would consider the whole child, support him in his pursuits, and empower him as a self-learner. They found it at the Charter School, where Keith credits Bob Moore for being instrumental in teaching him about leadership and his teachers for stoking his passion for the environment and helping him become a grassroots student activist.
As a freshman, Keith became involved in the school’s composting program, and took it over as a sophomore.
In the summer of 2016, Keith joined the Sheila Lyons campaign for state senate as the regional coordinator for Martha’s Vineyard. He has also been an active member of the We Stand Together movement, where he has helped to organize several marches.
In December of ’17, Keith and a few students from the Charter School traveled to Cuba to learn about Cuba’s sustainable agriculture and climate change adaptation efforts.
After the Parkland shooting, Keith turned his attention to school safety and gun violence issues. When he heard student activists such as David Hogg and Emily Gonzales speaking out, he said, he was motivated to support them. Keith began the task of leading a student-organized walkout, and later a bus trip to Washington for the March for Our Lives.
Also in December 2017, Keith was accepted to Middlebury College, and will begin in February after working for Dylan Fernandes as his field director for Martha’s Vineyard in his re-election campaign for state representative.
The student activist award was created so student activists from all across the political spectrum and all over New England will be able to learn about politics and civic engagement.