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Making a difference

Teen leaders meet with McCrory, Morrison

Students participating in GenerationNation’s youth civic leadership program, Youth Voice Leadership Alliance, met N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory on Jan. 9, and had a policy dialogue with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison.

The student-driven youth council discusses school and community issues and conducts meetings with local leaders to increase youth engagement in policy and decision making. The teens use student news and social media to report on civic events, including school issues and local government policies and meetings.

Students are working to expand as a community-wide youth council that advises city, county and school officials. The program is nonpartisan and not issue-driven.

Student co-leaders: Sarah Kerman of North Mecklenburg High and Poulumi Banerjee of Myers Park High. Other participants: Butler – Kyle Ferebee, Mika Maynard; Cato – Femilade Aladeniyi; East Mecklenburg – Desirae Kindley, Maya Fleming, Sydney Greene; Garinger – Antoinique Alexander, Gemille Sleweon, Tyri Rutland Wilson; Harding – Taya McClure, Kayla Pinson; Hopewell – Erika Carroll, Malik Hicks; Independence – Deidre Jonese Austin; Mallard Creek – Tevin Polk, Malcolm Willis; Myers Park – Steven Armendariz, Rich Burris, Chloe Moore, Charlotte Robertson, Andrew Sun; North Mecklenburg – Nick Macri; Northwest School of the Arts – Damara Garcia; Phillip O. Berry – Deja Baskerville, Indira Gutierrez, Tyshanae White; Providence – Arjun Gupta, Mary Rosen, Anna Talarico; South Mecklenburg – Grant Parker; West Charlotte – Quentin Blair, Deonna Rorie.

GenerationNation provides K-12 civic education, civic leadership and civic engagement learning opportunities for children and youths.

Senior BuildUp for Habitat houses

Habitat for Humanity is teaming with CMS high schools in building homes for low-income families. In the program, called Senior BuildUp, seniors raise funds and build Habitat homes. The goal is three new builds. Total fundraising for the first week of active fundraising was $4,467, or about 2 percent of the total goal of $225,000 for the three houses.

Here’s the leaderboard, from Habitat:

1. Ardrey Kell, $1,230

2. Harding, $1,170

3. Rocky River, $430

4. Performance Learning Center, $185

5. Hawthorne, $175

6. Providence, $170

7. Vance, $140

8. Butler, $125

9. Cato, $115

10. Myers Park, $112

11. East Mecklenburg, $101

12. West Charlotte, $100

13. Phillip O. Berry, $82

14. South Mecklenburg, $62

15. Garinger, $50

16. Independence, $10

16. West Mecklenburg, $10

18. Mallard Creek, $0

18. Marie G. Davis, $0

Students lead

book drives for kids

Recent Promising Pages book drives at Ardrey Kell and Charlotte Catholic high schools accumulated more than 3,000 new and gently used books to be given to low-income children in the Charlotte area.

Pooja Iyer, a senior and vice president of Ardrey Kell’s National Honor Society chapter, said students collected more than 1,600 books. Several honor society members also helped sort, count and pack the books.

She said the following seniors were instrumental in this project: Abigail Black, Alicia Doan, Matthew Dockstader, Francesca Gines, Deshanie Govender, Kajal Grover, Paula Guiler, Whitney Hall, Allie Hanks, Joshua Haynes, Emily Hodes, Alex Jenkins, Kelly Kapur, Suman Kasoji, Chris Kuuskevere, Spencer Kwolyk, Brooke Manson, Jeff Marquess and Lauren Nalevaiko.

Pooja, who interned with Promising Pages during the summer, explained why she’s devoted to the organization:

“My classmates and I are so privileged to come from families that have so much,” she said. “It’s so nice to be able to give back.”

Charlotte Catholic collected 1,670 books in a 12-day period last month, according to senior Maddy Gasior, the school’s National Honor Society vice president. Seniors Zach Gabriel, Joey Eberle, Gracie Linus and Hannah Phillips had key roles in the effort.

Maddy also interned with Promising Pages last summer and raised $400 for the organization through a personal book sale at her home. “I love the fact that I am not just collecting books for a book drive but personally wrapping and distributing them to the children,” she says.

“Promising Pages does more than just give a child a book. It gives them hope that they can pursue anything in life if they simply read.”

Charlotte-based Promising Pages donates books to children in families who have little or no access to books at home.

Reid Creager

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