New program polls students, searches for underrepresented opinions

Troy Pierson, Staff Reporter

Revere High School will host a new program on behalf of the Akron Community Foundation to reach out to students on issues in the local community.

The Akron Community Foundation introduced a program called On the Table as an opportunity for members of greater Akron to voice their opinions and concerns in their community. Revere Schools’ at-risk student coordinator Bonnie Simonelli detailed the program.

“Groups of people [get] together and [talk] over food . . . about how they see their community, what they want to do to help their community and ways which they will help their community,” Simonelli said.

The compiled information gained from a series of focus groups around the community will allow local leaders to allocate grant money through the Community Foundation to any area that appears in need of support. Revere Local Schools’ Superintendent Matthew Montgomery expressed his excitement for the new program.

“I am excited about the possibilities of our students and their conversations being valued and then that information really being put to work, so it is a real life application. . . . My hope is that the needs of this community will be documented and more captured and then infused into the greater goals of the Akron Community Foundation. I think there [have been] times when this community [has] assumed there is not a great need . . . I still think there are things that our students would benefit from . . . [which] hopefully we will be able to encapsulate after conversations with the students,” Montgomery said.

Schools participating in the program consist only of Akron Public Schools and Revere Local Schools. Throughout the day, select students at Revere High School will congregate with social studies teachers in small groups to anonymously discuss multiple questions on an array of topics. Revere High School Principal Phil King expressed the importance of this new program.

“I think that [On the Table] will give our students a voice. Often times, when you see things in the newspaper they poll teenagers; I believe they may poll teenagers that do not necessarily represent our group here at Revere. I think it is important that our students have a voice and talk about the things that are important to them,” King said.

In addition to local high schools, On the Table will appear in public areas such as local Akron libraries, the University of Akron and even in small groups at private residences. These areas are voluntarily arranged through a host program organized by On the Table Greater Akron. For more information about On the Table as well as inquiries for hosting an event on October 3rd, visit onthetableakron.com