Federal Hocking students discuss hometown issues with Ohio University students

Federal Hocking students discuss hometown issues with Ohio University students
Published: April 25, 2018 Author: Rachel Addlespurger

On Thursday April 12, Federal Hocking students came to Ohio University to take part in a culminating project for their inquiry elective on Appalachia.

Events included focus groups surrounding issues students had selected themselves as things they would like to change in their region. These include environmental, drug-related, natural disaster, family dynamic, and poverty issues in Appalachia.

The full day of events offered the 7th and 8th graders a safe space in which to share with Ohio University students what they’ve learned throughout the semester.

The day started off with the Federal Hocking students sharing trifold poster presentations and teaching the college students about their hometowns' values, assets, demographics and challenges they saw facing their towns.

“I think a lot of students who come to the University have an unrealistic perception of the surrounding area, so it was really special to see how perspectives changed as they were taught all of the great things this area has to offer”, says event creator and organizer Tracy Kondrit, a junior in the Patton College of Education and Gibby Cutler Scholar.

After a quick lunch at Nelson Dining Hall, Federal Hocking and OHIO students participated in focus groups on the major challenges they identified in their communities. The day ended with a conversation around identity and what it means to be an Appalachian, as well as how to communicate that to others. Both the Federal Hocking and Ohio University students gained new perspectives on the issues they explored with each other.

The event was dreamed up by Kondrit and her mentor teacher, Robin Hawk, when imagining ways for the students to apply what they have learned and take it outside the classroom. Knowing that many Cutler Scholars have deep relationships with Appalachian communities, Kondrit “saw it as a way to introduce our [Federal Hocking] students to Ohio University and some really incredible role models.”

This story was submitted by the Cutler Scholars Program