Students step up to solve social ills

Local News

DANVILLE — Five students could have the solution adults have been unable to find. They’re looking for ways to diversify the community.

Officials from the county came to hear how the students plan to help. Monday was the Students’ Leadership Conference.

Dozens of students met for the event and invited a variety of others to attend. Some included state representatives and senators as well as the mayor, a Supreme Court justice and other activists.

All agree the students hold the key to the future when it comes to social change.

“We find an issue that there’s a major problem that happens and we take that and we go from there.”

This year’s focus for these Future Problem Solvers: race and diversity. It’s a topic Kaleb Medina has hit Danville High School intimately.

“He was an innocent bystander and there was gang violence that outbroke (sic) and he was just playing basketball at a local park and he was fatally shot and killed.”

Devon McClyde was killed last summer. His death sparked a lot of anti-violence movements through the city.

“Many of the issues that led to his shooting, we felt the diversity after that was hostile and people didn’t really understand the tragedy that happened.”

Students from around the county met for a leadership conference to find ways of helping their community.

“Help people to understand people from different cultures, people of other races, people of other sexes and really just help people understand.”

They say it’s not a problem they can fix on their own, but they’re learning to look at the bigger picture.

“Really, I’ve just learned perspective more than anything else. Perspective on myself and perspective on others.”

Many say it takes a group like this to see change.

“These kids hold all the cards. It’s up to them now.”

Students came from high schools all around the county. They held roundtable  discussions in small groups at Danville Area Community College.

The Future Problem Solvers won the state competition. Now they’re heading to internationals at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, in June. About 5,000 students will be attending.

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