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Five D209 Students Go To Washington

April 12, 2016 03:30 PM
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Five District 209 students – four from Proviso East High School and one from Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy – recently spent a few days in Washington, D.C., as Youth Delegates to the 2016 Congressional City Conference.
 
Anahi Soto, a Proviso East freshman; Dominique Wallace, a Proviso East junior; Noah Salazar, a Proviso East junior; Terrell Jenkins, a Proviso East senior; and Marquan Jones, a PMSA senior, attended the conference March 5 to 9 as representatives of the Village of Maywood. They were accompanied by Ms. Avelira Gonzalez, District 209 teacher recruitment mentor and induction program coordinator, and Mr. Isiah Brandon, a Maywood village trustee.
 
Mr. Brandon said that the students were chosen by their schools, and that he was continuing a practice that began when he was a student and an adult involved him in government. While in Washington, the students attended workshops on leadership and strengthening youth involvement in government with students from across the country. He said that he wanted to help give the students different experiences and exposure to different ideas and places. They also heard from Ms. Melodee Colbert-Kean, a councilperson for Joplin, Missouri, which was devastated by a tornado in May 2011.
 
"I hope they understand they play a vital role in how our community is shaped and their voices can be heard," Mr. Brandon said. "I believe their going out and talking to students from other parts of the country (will be educational). They understand other communities are facing issues."
 
Along with the workshops, the Proviso students visited the Lincoln Memorial and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial as well as toured Howard University and George Washington University.
 
The students who participated said that they viewed the trip as a way to learn better how to serve their communities.
 
"It was a way to give back to the community and it would be a great way to network so my community can get the resources it needs so it can be plentiful and it can be prosperous," said Anahi Soto. "By going through this program, it encouraged to continue with it and see what impact it can have on my community."
 
Dominique Wallace had similar sentiments, saying the trip has encouraged her to plan to go to college in Illinois and one day return to Maywood.
 
"I need to give back to my community," she said. "At first, I didn’t like the idea of politics, but as I got closer to this trip, I really liked being around people and giving back to the community."
 
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that experiences such as traveling to conferences such as this helped to provide a broader education for students.
 
"Students need to be exposed to different ideas and different ways of finding solutions to the problems around them," she said. "A trip such as this provided that exposure, and I thank Mr. Brandon and Ms. Gonzalez for facilitating the trip for our students." 
 
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