10 Springfield students honored in writing challenge about community violence

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Middle school students in the Springfield City School District participated in the Do the Write Thing program for the third year in a row.

Ten students were honored Tuesday by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost as finalists in the challenge, which is a national program that asks students to explain how youth violence affects them and to share their ideas on how to stop it.

“Today was the third round of (the contest) where we recognize the 10 finalists and then the two winners who will represent the district in Washington, D.C., with students from across the nation,” said Superintendent Bob Hill.

The 10 students honored included Elisa Brown, Ta’Riyah Dotts-Beal, Lilleyaynna Bowshier, Juelz Clark, Corinna Jackson, Bryson Hinshaw, Ty’Shawn Long, Mi’Yanah Owens, Natalie Robinson and Elizabeth Whitmore. The two winners moving on in the contest are Juelz Clark and Corinna Jackson.

Hill said this program is a step in a positive direction of giving students a voice.

“This was his (Yost) attempt to give a voice to our students to really begin to help process some of those adverse experiences that they experience on our streets, and really in the news media from across the nation,” Hill said.

Hill credited Yost for being a supporter of schools and of students dealing with violence, “believing that by being able to address those issues and talk about them, they can be a change that we as adults have struggled for years to figure out across society.”

In partnership with Yost, Springfield was the first school district in Ohio to participate in the program in 2020.

“This is our third round of the Do the Write Thing essay context. Dave Yost came to us three years ago and asked us to be the first school in the State of Ohio to pilot this project, which would give middle school students a voice regarding the violence that occurs in our city and across our nation,” Hill said.

Yost expanded this third year of the program to students in Youngstown City Schools. It also includes students in Canton, Lima and Zanesville City Schools.

The challenge encourages students to share how their experiences with violence have personally impacted them and how they can reduce violence in their communities.

The program challenges students to express in story, poem, song or other written form the violence they have seen or faced while exploring these questions:

  • How does violence affect your daily life?
  • What are some of the causes of youth violence in your community?
  • What can you as an individual do to reduce youth violence in your community?

Springfield community members and business leaders read the work of students at Hayward, Roosevelt and Schaefer Middle Schools, and picked the top submissions. The winning pieces will be published in a booklet and shared statewide to bring more attention and awareness to the problem of violence.

Do the Write Thing, which is organized by the National Campaign to Stop Youth Violence, was founded in 1994 and has reached millions of students nationwide.

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