Ali Shapiro is an internet celebrity hiding in plain sight. She has her fair share of friends at San Marcos High School, but she also has a social media following of over triple the size of the school population. Aside from her presence on social media, it is less widely known that Ali is the president of Jewish Student Union.
By Amaya Cummins
She says, “With a population of over 4,000 students, I noticed that our cultural diversity was not reflected in our school’s student organizations. I wanted to educate my peers about modern Judaism and Antisemitism at SMHS.” Ali often uses her platform to educate her following on anti-semitism, as well as advocate for mental health.
Ali is influenced by her older sister, a 2019 graduate, to run NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “We both recognized how much negative stigma there is surrounding health, and we both wanted the club to be a safe space for anyone who is struggling,” she explains. NAMI’s mission is to educate San Marcos High School on mental health awareness in order to reduce the stigma surrounding these important topics on campus.
The club is committed to providing resources and support for students affected by mental illnesses. Ali often collaborates with her friend, Chelsea Bradford’s club, BC2M, to incorporate mental health awareness with fun activities that make learning about the tough subject much less stressful. These clubs have brought service dogs on campus during finals and mental health awareness spirit week at SMHS.
Ali’s social media platform has helped her go beyond the boundaries of the school campus to spread awareness on these topics, and has expanded her audience to people all over the world. Her actions have motivated several to not only be comfortable with themselves, but to follow in her footsteps and create similar programs within their own communities. Ali is able to accomplish her goal of influencing others down a path of leadership and confidence. Look out for Ali on your for you page and hopefully we will be seeing more of her in the future.