2892 Miles to Go: Arvin High School's Storytelling National Geographic Project

Arvin High School students are being inspired to adopt an explorer mindset. Under the National Geographic Society Student Storytelling Fellowship Program, known as “2892 Miles to Go,” students are being empowered to become youth storytellers, documenting and sharing narratives about the communities they are exploring.



This initiative is a five-month-long exploration opportunity for students to work directly with educators, local experts, and National Geographic explorers to develop their own stories about environmental justice in the Central Valley.

The first session was held on March 6th, with an inspiring visit to the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument. Students dove into the history of Cesar E. Chavez's life and his impactful legacy of activism with the farm workers' movement. Centered on amplifying local community stories, students working on this project will honor Chavez’s legacy as they explore and develop stories about their communities in Arvin, Weedpatch, and Lamont. 

Sophomore Jaque Bedolla shared that she enjoys storytelling and recognizes its power as a tool for advocacy and change in shaping communities.

“With our age right now, we’re the ones that are going to grow up in this community,” said Bedolla. “If we want our community to be a good and loving one, we have to do something to create that. It will only happen if we do something about it.”

National Geographic Explorers Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, Anita Palmer, Brittney Beck, Nova West, and Andres Chavez, the Executive Director of the National Chavez Center, joined the students,  sharing stories and emphasizing the importance of documenting the lives and conditions of their local communities.

“We’re hoping to help them connect to their history in ways that inspire them to take local action to create a more just, compassionate, and informed community,” said Beck. 



By reflecting on the past, students can look at the present to work towards a better future. In their storytelling, students are encouraged to draw inspiration from the life and activism of Cesar E. Chavez. At the national monument, students participated in a photographic storytelling workshop, learning to capture their audience and tell a story through a camera lens. This will lay their project's foundation, culminating at the Sequoia National Park in June.

“They get to encapsulate what their grandparents used to do in the fields and the legacy of Cesar Chavez compared to what they have now at home and how they can relate it to their grandparents,” said Harim Garcia, science teacher at Arvin High School.



By engaging with local experts and National Geographic explorers, students are developing the skills and confidence to become effective advocates for their communities to address environmental justice issues. Arvin High School's participation is an avenue for students to amplify the voices of their community and its history to create a sustainable future for all.

“By engaging our local youth as storytellers, they will be able to tell new stories that would not exist without their perspective,” said Beck. “We want them to leave feeling empowered as storytellers, as activists, as people who have a sense of agency and feel like they can create a community that reflects who they are and what they hope to see in the world.”

The student’s work will be featured on the 2892 Miles to Go website at the end of the year.