Jennat Jounaidi standing in front of a tree overhanging water

Teens will spotlight neighborhood features thorough a project by CRLS’ Jennat Jounaidi

By Jennat Jounaidi, 2022

Jennat Jounaidi standing in front of a tree overhanging water
As a History Cambridge fellow until June, Jennat Jounaidi plans to inspire teens to explore their communities.

My name is Jennat Jounaidi, a 10th-grader at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School who has lived in Cambridge all my life, and I am elated to be this year’s History Cambridge fellow. My interests include history and politics (and, in my free time, cooking and baking), and the goal for this semester is to help connect the history of Cambridge with issues affecting the city’s teenage and young adult residents.

Many teens and young adults who have also grown up in Cambridge and go to school here still don’t know or understand the city’s rich history or that news of global import has a local relationship or correlation. Let’s use the pandemic as an example of how, despite many school lessons on current events and history on a national and even global level, we don’t learn enough about what happens our backyard: I asked various students at CRLS if they knew where Moderna or Pfizer’s offices or headquarters were, and most did not. When I told them these innovators in Covid vaccines had offices and labs right here in Cambridge, many were surprised.

Another goal is making history fun and immersive. One way will be by giving teens across Cambridge the opportunity to explore what the community has to offer and sharing the results through social media, primarily via short videos. We will dive deep using a variety of methods, including interviewing neighbors, looking at landmarks and highlighting restaurants, schools and green spaces. We want teens across Cambridge to understand what their communities have to offer, as well as the history that helped shape them, and hopefully end with a visual collection that will help teens all over Cambridge better understand their own and each other’s neighborhoods.

I want to help relate what is happening now to events in our city’s past while paying attention to a dynamic we see looking back in history: Cambridge is a diverse city in many aspects, with all types of people from all different walks of life, but we can see whose stories are told and whose stories are not.

I am excited to kick-start my fellowship and cannot wait to share what I come up with during my time at History Cambridge.

This article was originally published in our “Did You Know?” column in Cambridge Day.


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