Photo Tour: The Students, Educators, Classrooms & Activism That Define Democracy Prep, a School Network Built Around Civics

By The 74 | April 10, 2019

By The 74April 10, 2019

For the past four months, The 74 has been reporting on Democracy Prep, a New York City-based charter network, and the role it and other civics-heavy programs play in fixing the grim condition of American democracy.

Democracy Prep began in 2006 with one middle school and 130 students, and in 13 years it has grown to 21 campuses in 5 states, with roughly 6,500 students. But it has never strayed far from its founding mission: to create politically involved citizens ready to “Change to the World.” At a young age, Democracy Prep students participate in discussions of social issues and current events — but they also spend fall afternoons helping to register new voters and encourage existing ones to turn out. Every senior must complete a capstone Change the World project aimed at rectifying community problems that students identify.

Below, some notable scenes and events from recent years that bring Democracy Prep, its civic mission and its classrooms to life:

Natasha Trivers, Democracy Prep interim CEO, outside Democracy Prep Harlem High School. (Emmeline Zhao)

Students line up outside Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus in Las Vegas. (Democracy Prep)

DPAC Executive Director Adam Johnson shakes a student’s hand in Las Vegas. (Democracy Prep)

Actor Neil Patrick Harris visits Democracy Prep in 2016. (Democracy Prep)

Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai visits Democracy Prep in 2013. (Democracy Prep)


Students at Democracy Prep Endurance work on a get-out-the-vote campaign for 2014 midterm elections. (Democracy Prep)

Students at Democracy Prep Harlem Elementary School work on a get-out-the-vote campaign for 2014 midterm elections. (Democracy Prep)

Democracy Prep students attend President Trump’s inauguration in 2017. (Democracy Prep)

Students at Democracy Prep Harlem Middle School prepare a Change the World mural. (Democracy Prep)

Paulo Reyes, a senior at Democracy Prep Charter High School. (Emmeline Zhao)

Angelina Patterson, a senior at Democracy Prep Harlem High School. (Emmeline Zhao)

Nyashia Hughes, a senior at Democracy Prep Harlem High School. (Emmeline Zhao)

Farhan Mehsud, left, and Cheikh Fall, seniors at Democracy Prep Charter High School. (Emmeline Zhao)

Samantha Hernandez, a senior at Democracy Prep Charter High School. (Emmeline Zhao)

Ashley Getting teaches a class at Democracy Prep Charter High School. (Emmeline Zhao)

Democracy Prep students help clean a public pool in 2015. (Democracy Prep)

Democracy Prep students at the Women’s March in 2017. (Democracy Prep)

Seth Andrew speaks at the 2016 Democracy Prep Gala. (Democracy Prep)

Democracy Prep Harlem High School students graduate in 2018. (Democracy Prep)