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Central State University Students Moderate Forum in Alipuippa, Pennsylvania

I want to share this story that was written for the National Issues Forum website about Central State University’s National Issues Forum. CSU is an AASCU school and NIF is an ADP partner organization. As you can see, both institutions are doing important democratic work. – Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project

(The story below was taken from the NIF website.)

Students from Central State working with Kettering Foundation consultant, Patty Dineen before Aliquippa forum

On April 9th, the students trained by Kettering Foundation consultants to serve as National Issues Forum Leaders, went to Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, to use their skills in a community forum on Closing the Achievement Gap.  The forum was jointly sponsored by The Franklin Center of Beaver County, The Kettering Foundation, and Central State University –Institute of Urban Education.

In May of 2010, Central State University (CSU) formed a partnership with the Aliquippa School District and the Franklin Center of Beaver County to provide the best educational opportunities for students in Aliquippa and around Beaver County. This promise was further extended through the efforts from The Aliquippa Council of Men and Fathers, a coalition of men working through the Franklin Center to better the center, to help high school students get in to college.

Some of the students chosen to participate were actually from the city where the forum was held.  These students are part of a pipeline project led by Mr. Curtis Pettis called The Aliquippa Project.  The students attending the forum from Aliquippa and participating were Markeata Gates, Shon Owens, and Christian Berry.  Other students attending from the project were Troy Dawkins, Brandon Barrow, Antonio Reddic, Danielle Brown and Albertine Bright, their peer mentor.  Also attending and participating were College of Education students, Michael Copeland, Jasmine Dortch, April Malone, and Adrianna Brown.

Markeata Gates presenting at forum in Aliquippa High School

For a Saturday morning, there was a good turnout of people that showed an interest in the topic. The students presented several possible approaches and then asked the community to respond. The responses were sincere and full of information about what they felt needed to be done in their community to make academic achievement a top priority for everyone.

At the end of the forum, each person was asked to state one action step they planned to take as a response to the issue.  Some of the plans discussed were to tell more people about the wonderful work the Franklin Center was doing with Central State University and to encourage more students to attend college. One citizen suggested that each adult present could personally find a student and mentor them throughout their academic career. The major outcome was that the community needed more forums like this one and they are going to plan them for the future.

When the students were asked by Dr. Kaye Jeter, the Executive Director of the Institute of Urban Education, Shon Owens stated that this was a very scary task, but “I learned so much about how to present in public audiences.”  April Malone and Mike Copeland did an excellent job providing input for the ending reflections. They were responsible for calling the audience to action. All of the students that participated and attended learned many techniques and increased their moderating skills.

At the end of the program Mr. Jonathan Pettis the Executive Director of the Franklin Center charged everyone with continuing this community dialogue so that there would be more students aspiring to attend college and certainly Central State.

For further information contact:
Dr. Kaye Manson Jeter
Executive Director-Institute of Urban Education
Central State University

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