BBAStudents to share 'Visions of the World'

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MANCHESTER — How do students feel about the major issues that will shape the world they'll inherit one day?

On Monday, Dec. 4 the Manchester community will have the opportunity to hear directly from students at Burr and Burton Academy on those issues, including: climate change, immigration, opioid abuse and policy, gun control, and health care. Students will also be asked if they plan to register to vote, and share their opinions on the role of the United States on the global stage.

The event, to be held at the Manchester Community Library at 7 p.m., follows several discussions hosted by the MCL in the interest of facilitating a respectful and diverse community dialogue.

"We are really talking about listening when we talk to one another," said Ruth Hoffman, who has organized those discussions alongside Adult Services Librarian Cindy Waters, Ed Morrow, Judy Livingston, and Rabbi Michael Cohen. "I want to listen to those coming of age to vote in the next presidential election. How can we make students want to participate in our democracy?"

Monday's discussion will be moderated by the chair of Burr and Burton's Social Studies Department, John Graf, who hopes that between six and twelve students will participate.

"These students will get an opportunity to have their voices heard by the larger community," he said. "They can show the adults that they are educated and informed about what's going on in the world."

"Students can gain confidence, and know that others — including retired people like me — care about what they think of the world," added Hoffman.

While the students will solely speak on their experiences and beliefs rather than representing the school's student body as a whole, Graf explains that the discussion can also serve to highlight the education provided by the school.

"The larger Manchester community does a great job supporting Burr and Burton," he said. "It's great for them to see what that support turns into. These high school kids have strong beliefs and ideals, and they have the knowledge to back them up. They're not just the stereotype of apathetic teenagers."

According to Hoffman, the discussion may also serve to inform more mature members of the Manchester community.

"I know a lot about what people of my generation think, but not that much about the younger generation," she added. "I don't want to live in a silo of sameness; I believe that they will have many great ideas. I hope that this conversation might inspire them to participate in the political process. We need them."

"High School Kids Share Their Vision of the World" will be hosted by the Manchester Community Library at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4. The event is free and open to the public.

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