Editorial: The next generation uses words to speak out
I had the dubious honor of reading 27 essays last week as part of a contest provided by Charles City High School’s PTA. The prompt of the writing was entitled, “What can I do to make Charles City County a better place?” There is one thing for sure that I learned from reading these essays; the kids know what they want to see in the county for it to thrive and survive.
I already knew that Charles City students were smart, but reading these essays showed the heartfelt meaning they had. These kids care about Charles City and want to make it a better place, but they are afraid to speak up verbally because they have a strong belief that nobody will listen to them. At least half the students spoke about the litter on the roads and how it took away from the beauty of the county.
The next most popular comments were the lack of industry in the county. Many of the writers spoke about wanting a grocery store, fast food restaurants, or shopping areas.
“I shouldn’t have to travel to Williamsburg or Richmond to do my grocery shopping,” said one of the essays.
I could tell by the words the students were frustrated with what is going on in the county and they want to understand why these types of businesses were not in the county. It seemed to frustrate them that surrounding localities have those amenities, but they do not.
These students want to make Charles City better. A majority of the students wrote in their essays that they are currently involved with programs such as food banks and elderly assistance programs. Students also help with the aforementioned picking up litter, while others are pushing for mentoring and tutoring programs at the elementary school. The students want to be role models for the younger generation.
About a month ago, Charles City District 3 supervisor Floyd Miles Sr. questioned at a board meeting why student population was dwindling. Reading these essays probably can provide him a few of the answers he was seeking.
“There is nothing here to do,” said one student. “There is no where for the kids to go. The parks are in bad shape.”
“The only reason that I want to give back to the community is because I have a younger brother and sister here and want them to be successful,” another essay said. “I love this county and I love this school, but there isn’t really a lot of reasons to stay here.”
In my opinion, the younger generation is a lot smarter than what I was at their age. They are not naïve to the surroundings and happenings in the county. If you want to build a future for them, you have to understand and know what’s going in their minds. They are able to put two-and-two together. So instead of pushing it aside, let’s embrace and hear what the next generation has to say before we rush to judgement and not turn a deaf ear from their input.