(LIMA, Ohio) — West Middle School student Jahnathon Myers has witnessed numerous acts of violence in his young life.
I’ve seen people get shot, stabbed, abused, and I’ve even seen some take their own lives. This world is full of violence, drugs and weapons but the sad part about it is that kids have easy access to all of these and get hurt by them everyday.
Jahnathon was one of 10 students from the Lima City School District honored today by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost as a finalist in the “Do the Write Thing” challenge, a national program that asks middle-schoolers to explain how youth violence affects them and how to stop it.
“I am so proud of the Lima students,” Yost said. “Their passion, thoughtfulness and self-awareness shine through their work. I encourage everyone to read what these students have to say. Their commitment to make this world a better place is inspiring.”
Yost’s office launched Do the Write Thing in Ohio last year with Springfield City Schools and this year partnered with three additional districts: Lima, Zanesville and Canton. The program allows students to express – maybe for the first time – their experiences with violence.
The Lima program received more than 500 submissions from seventh- and eighth-graders at Liberty Arts Magnet, South Science and Technology Magnet, and West Middle School. The award ceremony was held this afternoon at Lima Senior High School.
Community members and business leaders volunteered to read the essays and choose the winning submissions, with the top 10 stories published as a booklet to be shared across the state to bring greater attention to the problem of violence.
Jahnathon Myers and Ma’Kylee Lott will join six students from the other participating districts as Ohio’s ambassadors to the Do the Write Thing conference in July in Washington, D.C.
Lima City Schools Superintendent Jill Ackerman applauded the program’s positive influence on the students and community.
“We feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to participate in Do the Write Thing,” she said. “The impact has gone beyond what we could have ever expected. It has been a wonderful outlet to allow our students to express themselves on an issue that closely touches so many of their lives. And their voices now give our school district and community a place to begin important dialogue around violence in our community.”
Do the Write Thing, organized by the National Campaign to Stop Youth Violence, has reached millions of students.