Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with students from Northmont High School in Clayton. A few weeks ago, Language Arts teachers Stephanie Walters and Rebecca Henderson reached out to leaders in the community for help with a project. Students were tasked with watching the Frontline episode “Left Behind America” which discussed Dayton’s struggles to recover in the post-recession economy, then pick challenges in the community and come up with solutions to those challenges. As part of the project, the teachers invited over 50 community leaders to visit with the students and discuss their solutions with them.

It was an honor to be invited to take part in this project. Upon arriving at the high school, I met with a small group of students who discussed their challenges and solutions with me. One student talked about the numerous abandoned buildings in the city; another focused on the closing of Good Samaritan Hospital; the third student talked about how living in poverty and having a bad home life can affect education.

What I found so intriguing was many of the students’ solutions were aligned with the missions of many organizations in our community. The students put a lot of time and effort into researching thought-provoking, innovative solutions. I was incredibly inspired by the work and dedication they put into this project and the inspiration of their teachers.

I was amazed by all of the community leaders who took time to participate in this project. From police officers to non-profit organization leaders to sports personnel, the support came from far and wide. This experience reaffirmed for me that when a community works together, we have the opportunity to make our community the best it can be.




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