Living Democracy

Teens Willing to Participate in Strengthening Collinsville's Future

Collinsville High SchoolMark Wilson and Blake Evans of Auburn University moderated a forum titled “Strengthening Collinsville’s Future” on May 15 in Donna Jones’ classroom at Collinsville High School. Using an issue guide developed by the David Mathews Center for Civic Life, the forum allowed students to weigh the pros and cons of different approaches communities might take related to the issue.       

The students expressed many different ideas and observations about the small town of Collinsville. When asked how citizens might generate more interest in the town, many students suggested that additional entertainment venues are a must. They shared ideas such as a public pool, an open rec center, access to the gym, more chain restaurants, and other activities for teens to enjoy.

One current park on North Grand Avenue has a few jungle gyms for children to play on but a massive amount of open green grass that the students hope will become a softball field or house something else sports related for them specifically.

Downtown Collinsville, ALWhen asked about what the town of Collinsville does have that generates interest and activities, students listed off several events such as Turkey Trot, Trade Day, Relay for Life, Duck Race, Trunk or Treat, Christmas Cantata, and Homecoming.

As the discussion continued, students began to focus on areas that they believe would expand their learning and personal interests in school, specifically arts and sports programs at Collinsville High School. They are willing to participate and help organize art clubs and classes at the school as well as at the public library.

“I agree that [Collinsville High] needs more artistic programs because many teens and kids are interested in art,” said Collinsville High student Naomi Cummings, whom is an artsy person wanting to experience something new.

To back up Cummings on the lack of broader classes, fellow students would like to see more opportunities besides going to the trade school. Psychology, human anatomy, robotics, and even a face-to-face rather than face-to-monitor version of their forensics class are a few of the classes they would like to add to the curriculum. Some students even said that they would continue to pay for classes and maybe even a little more if they knew exactly where their money for classes is going. They are also interested in additional field trips for the older kids to be able to explore outside of the town.

View of field in Collinsville, ALJennifer Wilkins from the Collinsville Public Library attended the forum and discussed ways in which teens might be involved with the library or use the library for some of the activities mentioned. Several students and Wilkins are interested in developing an in-school book club for interested readers.

Crystal Rawls, Auburn University Living Democracy student for 2015, attended the forum, and she will assist the library with summer reading programs and other opportunities for teens. 

By the end of the forum, students were excited for the summer and hoping to get involved with not only their part time jobs, but also doing a few activities around Collinsville to appreciate it a little more.

By Crystal Rawls
Last Updated: May 19, 2015