Photo by S. Paige Allen, Lewis and Clark Community College photographer/media specialist
Students and teachers work together during the student summit held at the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities in Edwardsville, Illinois, on Feb. 23.
EDWARDSVILLE – Nine high schools will be awarded $3,000 fellowships this fall to implement student projects aimed at creating positive change in their schools and communities over the 2016-2017 school year.
Students presented the Conversation Toward a Brighter Future project proposals to school leaders Thursday at the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities, 1210 N. Main St.
Following a summit at the center Feb. 23 and 25 with more than 200 middle school and high school participants, students worked to identify and research issues in their school and community and develop plans to address them.
“Each of the projects demonstrates and reflects the commitment of these schools to positive change,” MJCH Foundation Executive Director Ed Hightower said.
High school fellows include Alton, Civic Memorial, Center for Educational Opportunities, Collinsville, East Alton-Wood River, Edwardsville, Granite City, Madison Senior High and Triad. Middle school fellows will be announced later in the week.
“I’m excited about what the Brighter Future project will provide for our students and how it will help them come together to create a positive culture in the building and help our school become better all in all,” Triad Principal Rodney Winslow said.
During the summits, participants held discussions around the MJCH Foundation’s four core values – respect, dignity, understanding and forgiveness – and were encouraged to think outside their comfort zones to consider how people must treat one another for society to thrive.
Granite City High School Principal Daren DePew said GCHS is excited about the cultural changes taking place through the project.
“Our students are the future and by working together on this project, the design team has seen what type of impact they can have on that future,” he said.
Edwardsville High School Principal Dennis Cramsey said his students chose to enhance an existing program that will strengthen the manner in which the school welcomes new students into its culture.
“The culture that exists at EHS is so positive due, in part, to our students taking leadership roles and always searching for ways to make student life better,” he said. “The work done through the Conversation Toward a Brighter Future project does just that – it makes student life better by developing strategies and activities that better equip a new student to be a student with a positive attitude, high standards and a desire to be a person of influence.”
Each developed plan has measurable outcomes and offers the ability to be replicated by other schools and communities. Schools were given $1,000 to begin their projects and will receive the additional $3,000 in September.
“I would like to thank Regional Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Daiber, retired teachers Andrew Reinking, Annice Brave, Chris Head, Deb Pitts, Jim Kerr, LaDonna Whitner, Sean Hill from Lewis and Clark Community College and project coordinator Sydney Ehmke for their outstanding leadership and working with schools to produce such an outstanding project,” Hightower said.
The middle school fellows’ reception will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, May 17, at the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities.
The Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities, a division of Lewis and Clark Community College. The center was created to bring together diverse audiences and humanities programming through lectures, readings, dialogues, public engagement opportunities and educational activities. For information, visit mjchf.org or the foundation's social media pages