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Grady Student Pursues Life Goals

Esme+Rice+shows+passion+for+politics%2C+environmentalism++and+filmmaking+while+still+staying+committed+to+each+activity.+
Esme Rice shows passion for politics, environmentalism  and filmmaking while still staying committed to each activity.

Esme Rice shows passion for politics, environmentalism and filmmaking while still staying committed to each activity.

Esme Rice shows passion for politics, environmentalism and filmmaking while still staying committed to each activity.

Jackie Inman, Writer

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Upon hearing Esme Rice’s name, there are many things that come to mind. From filmmaking, to politics, to environmentalism, to social justice movements, Esme is passionate and self-motivated to learn and stay invested in each activity.

“I’m one of the core organizers of a Youth March on Washington that will be happening next summer,” Rice said.

Over the summer, Rice went to a Climate Reality conference in Seattle, Washington out of pure self-interest. The Climate Reality Project is a non-profit organization involved in education and advocacy related to climate change. The project was established in July 2011, after the joining of two environmental groups, The Alliance for Climate Protection and The Climate Project, which were both founded in 2006 by Al Gore.

Rice traveled on her own across the country to Seattle, Washington, and stayed with her aunt in a hotel, attending the Climate Reality conference each day on her own.

“I met a dozen youth at the conference and we all discussed a completely youth organized movement that was a Youth March on Washington and have been planning it since the official launch is January 21st,” Rice said.

Rice, along with other youth, is a part of The Youth Movement for Climate Action Now, which aims to ensure a livable future for all young people and future generations. It is a call for emergency action. Young people are already suffering the consequences of the climate crisis in the form of deadly natural disasters, threats to food security, public health threats, contamination of drinking water and much more.

Esme is very politically driven, with a lot of her interest in politics rooted way back in her family history. Rice’s great-grandfather is Barry Goldwater, who was an American politician, businessman, and author. As well as this, he was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 1964 election.

“Esme is so creative and such an inspiring person in everything that she does,” Jordyn Madkour, Rice’s cousin, said. “She always knows what’s going on in the world, and she is always eager to help those in need in whatever way she can.”

Rice is interested in learning as much as she can about her grandfather and the issues he was interested in. This political background in her family inspires her to pay attention to the political world. Rice finds it interesting to learn about her great-grandfather and research him. Goldwater was known by the nickname “Mr. Conservative”, but despite her origins, Rice was brought up as an extreme liberal with liberal parents.

“It just makes it more interesting to learn about his views, which were very different to mine,” Rice said. “Reading about his views on politics, in general, helps me to form a stronger political opinion.”

Rice’s interests do not stop here. She is passionate and extremely talented in filmmaking. Throughout different trips, music festivals, and periods in her life, Esme has continuously made beautiful short films of her friends, family members, and strangers, forming each small video clip together to make a film accompanied by the perfect music to make the watcher feel something. Each time Rice makes a video, she posts it to Instagram or Youtube, always receiving an overwhelming amount of praise and admiration from friends who watch and even from plenty of people she doesn’t know.

Rice began taking videos of her trips and experiences early in middle school, and she realized her love for editing them together and putting them online for her family and friends to see.

“It became a passion of mine, every time I make a new video, I think ‘Wow I want to do this for the rest of my life,’” Rice said.

Even though Rice is still a junior, she knows that she will definitely apply to film school and see where that takes her. She has always had aspirations of living in New York, going to a school such as The New School, and majoring in film.

Rice’s close friend Sophie Pye speaks highly of her.

“Esme is always going to protests to make sure her voice is heard and she always voices her opinion. I’ve never met someone so passionate about so many different things, and I wish I could be like that too.” Pye says.

In order to have her own money and save up for things such as college in New York, she works at Folk Art, a diner-style restaurant in Inman Park, waking up early on the weekends and working into the afternoon. She stays independent and driven, as she says she was risen to be very independent ever since she was much younger.

While Rice has many different interests and talents, it is clear that one of them will lead her far in life, no matter what she pursues. Even if it is your first time meeting her, it is obvious to those she speaks to that she is more sure of herself than most and will end up going somewhere.

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The arts, cultural and news magazine of Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia