March-April 2019 | Parenting

Making Their Marks

Meet the winners of Bethesda Magazine’s 2019 Extraordinary Teen Awards

 

Photo by Edgar Artiga.

Devin Lucas

Senior, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School

After U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin refused to meet last spring with Devin Lucas and other concerned teens about the federal government’s family separation policies at the U.S.-Mexico border, the teens staged a peaceful protest outside his Capitol Hill office. Devin, then a junior at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, was among five students arrested and charged with obstructing a doorway.

“It was nerve-racking. You never know how the police are going to react,” says Devin, whose hands were restrained in zip ties before she was taken away by the U.S. Capitol Police. Captured on video by her mother, Heather Lucas, the incident did generate publicity—the teens’ goal—and Devin says she’d do it again for a cause she strongly supports. The charges against the protesters eventually were dropped, and Devin has since met with Maryland legislators to share her opinions.

Devin, 18, of Bethesda, says her political activism was first sparked by the 2018 mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school. “I have the luxury to feel safe going to school, but many others don’t,” says Devin, who has joined efforts to promote gun control, including the 2018 March for Our Lives in D.C., where she was widely quoted in the media.

“She is a deep, independent thinker,” says Andrew Seidman, her English teacher. “It’s one thing to talk about issues in class. It’s another to watch a student really put that thinking on the line and in the real world.”

Beyond her commitment to social justice, Devin is passionate about the arts. A singer and actor, she has participated in several school and community productions, and last summer co-founded The Free Theatre, a student-led nonprofit focused on giving more teens access to performing arts.

“I always want activism to be part of my life,” says Devin, who plans to attend Emory University in Atlanta this fall. “Ideally, in the future I hope to use writing and the arts to make my voice heard. I think film and visual arts can be incredible mediums for activism.”