Josef Cooper Changemaker Award

Honoring Joe Cooper

Without Joe Cooper, the CDS we know and love would not exist. Joe and his wife, Tracy, were the leaders of a group of parents, trustees, and educators who founded Children’s Day School as a non-profit to nourish and celebrate diversity and promote justice and respect for all people. Joe had a life-long commitment to student activism and it is this commitment to action the CDS community wishes to celebrate and instill in future generations of CDS students.

About the Changemaker Award

To honor Joe, who passed away in 2018, CDS has established the Joe Cooper Changemaker Award for an alumni who models the change-making spirit embodied by Joe throughout his life. Any CDS alum is eligible to receive the Changemaker Award as an acknowledgment of their work to continue the legacy of action instilled in CDS students. We are proud to honor the recipients of the 2022 Changemaker Award for Alumni: Gracie Veiga (Class of 2017) and Katharine Biggar (Class of 2019)!
Gracie Veiga, Class of 2017: Gracie was first driven to make a difference in her community when she was a student at CDS. From organizing a bake sale in 4th grade after the devastating earthquake in Haiti to passionately joining her classmates in voter registration prior to the 2016 presidential election, She embraced every opportunity to take action and make change. Gracie has served as the Youth Commissioner and Vice Chair of its Transformative Justice Committee, organized a tutoring program for students from low-income communities with Read, Write, Discover, and is now a part of Columbia's Criminal Justice Coalition where she and her peers advocate for re-entry services for people recently released from prison.

Katharine Biggar, Class of 2019: Since graduating from CDS, Katharine has become a role model for younger girls. Her interest in service all started at CDS. Katharine is a volunteer junior coach for Girls Leading Girls, an all-girls soccer club with all women coaches and serves on its youth advisory council. She is also editor of the Art and Culture section of the Emerald and copy editor for the Oracle, Sacred Heart Cathedral’s newspaper and annual literary magazine. Katharine recently interned at the Alliance for Community Development in Oakland, where she developed and implemented a community action project addressing food insecurity during COVID-19.
Past Award Winners
2021 Winner: Sarah Muzhaqi (Class of 2019)
2020 Winner: Nora Hylton (Class of 2016)
To nominate a candidate, please fill out this formThe selected recipient will receive a $500 honorarium and will be invited to a special Friday Assembly presenting their award. Email with any questions.
    • Changemaker Award 2023

      Class of 2020 honoree, Gabriella Chen

Children's Day School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.  Learn More