Columbus students lend Obama some advice

Tevin Jackson, Brandon Lim, Romana Volosyanko, Jerome Mack, Sergine Laguerre, and Briana Hamilton, participated in the National Writing Project assignment, writing letters to President Barack Obama, expressing their opinion on current events and their concerns. Photo by Amanda Marinaccio

The students of Christopher Columbus Campus, located 925 Astor Avenue, have joined in a national assignment to tell the new President exactly how they feel.

Librarians Karen Levy and Julia Loving, decided to bring to the school a writing assignment known as ‘Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future,’ an online writing project to help students improve not only their writing and literacy skills, but help them to get involved in current politics and express how they feel about the world they see.

“This was a wonderful project and we were amazed at the interest the students had and how they were excited to write down their thoughts, it’s really thanks to all the teachers and staff that got involved,” said Levy.

The assignment is a national project co-sponsored through the National Writing Project, a professional development network that serves teachers, and GoogleDocs.

Amongst many of the student’s idea and concerns were the healthcare system, stock market, homelessness prevention, immigration, the war and foreign affairs, abortion, same sex marriage, HIV/AIDs, and pollution.

“I wrote about immigration, healthcare, and the NYC public schools, including afterschool programs and extracurricular activities. Most of the NYC schools have pools and resources that aren’t used,” said Sergine Laguerre, 15, who began the assignment through her current events class taught by Brian O’Neill. “Since we are in high school our voices don’t really get heard, but we know about the issues.”

For many of the faculty involved, the importance of this project was to bring the students out of a typical learning environment and curriculum, finding something that would engage them and introduce them to a real life situation and historic occurrence.

“This is their first experience with an election at an age where they can understand the magnitude of it and get the opportunity to have a voice,” said freshman English teacher, Michele Lukelitch.

“How often can you write a letter and have someone who actually matters read it? This motivates them to get active in their community and politics and pay attention to the world around them.”

Through the NWP the letters will be delivered to and read by President Barack Obama. For more information visit

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