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Have ears to listen to the teens

By Staff | Nov 18, 2016

I was proud, once again, to serve assist at the Chamber of Commerce High School Business Symposium this week. Kudos to the Chamber for offering this opportunity to our high school students.

Now that the students have met this year, let’s hope that the staffers and school board personnel and business leaders in the room were paying attention to all that was said.

At this event, the students discuss things they would change about their school. They talk about whether they feel prepared to move on after high school. They focus on what is needed in Jefferson County to make them come back after their college years.

Having volunteered for this symposium for the past 10 years, at least, I can say that the ears need to open on those who make the decisions. These kids are saying the same things, year after year and it appears as if their suggestions, desires, etc., fall on deaf ears.

Every year, the groups talk about how they need some education in everyday things. They want to learn how to balance a checkbook; how to file a tax return; how to write a resume or a cover letter. They want a guidance department that helps them with college applications and keeps their information current. They want redistricting and another high school so that they are not so overcrowded.

They also want a community that offers amenities to engage them–entertainment venues like malls and movie theaters. They want infrastructure to support businesses in our community that will bring higher paying jobs. They want competitive pay scales for the jobs with regard to locality.

These kids are bright. They showed intelligence, innovative ideas and a desire to better this community. But, they also are not opposed to leaving if they can’t get what they need here.

Let’s listen and move forward to try to retain the next generation in our community.