BridgeUSA High School brings constructive dialogue to high school campuses across the nation. Our high school chapters focus on teaching students how to engage in political discussion and have productive conversations on hard topics through empathy and open-discussion.
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How did BridgeUSA High School Start?
BridgeUSA High School was created in 2021 to meet the increase in political engagement in high school. We noticed that students were coming into college already polarized and decided the best way to address this was to start chapters at the high school level. Our high school chapter network was created by merging existing Real Talk and the Acceptance Project programs on high school campuses across the nation.
By including high school campuses in the mission, BridgeUSA is creating a high school-to-college pipeline that engages the next generation of leaders and teaches the value of empathy, understanding and problem-solving.
More About Real Talk and The Acceptance Project (TAP)
Previously Real Talk:
Real Talk was created by debate partners Divya Ganesan and Eliza Goler to address national trends of polarization in their local community and beyond. As a public forum duo, they recognized the value of the critical thinking skills and diverse perspectives represented in debate that was often absent from other settings.
In 2019, they started Real Talk to create opportunities for peers to engage in political discourse on their campuses.
BridgeUSA incorporated Real Talk in summer 2021, and welcomed their high school chapters into the Bridge network. As part of the BridgeUSA organization, BridgeUSA High School will engage high school students across the ideological spectrum in constructive dialogue across party lines.
Previously TAP (The Acceptance Project):
The Acceptance Project (TAP) was created in 2017 by Taha Vahanvaty, an 8th-grader at the time. Following the 2016 presidential election, his school district, Stroudsburg Area School District, saw a sharp uptick in verbal, physical, and online incivility. For this reason, Vahanvaty created TAP to foster civil discourse grounded in the lived experiences of his peers. Through TAP, students are provided with the space and opportunity to engage across their differences through productive conversation.
BridgeUSA added TAP to its community of high school chapters in April 2022 to further engagement among high schoolers and expand opportunities for constructive dialogue on campus. At the time of its incorporation, TAP had 10 chapters in the U.S.