Windsor Strong Students Present Community Findings

Windsor Strong Academy students crafted a month of research into presentations that lasted just minutes, explaining what makes a community strong at Binghamton University’s Downtown Center.

48 students divided into seven teams, each selecting an issue that impacts a community: sports, education, environment, finances, events, safety and health. Their research included interviewing community leaders from the Binghamton Devils, Binghamton Rumble Ponies and Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce. They also met with Broome County Executive Jason Garnar.

Students not only explained how these elements impact people but also how people can positively impact the area around them. The students themselves will be an example of this, creating projects this school year that will improve the community.

“We’re going to work on getting more advertisement for the library in Windsor,” said incoming 9th grader Megan McLoughlin. “Not a lot of people know about the library. We’re planning a chicken barbecue to raise money.”

On the first day of school students in the safety group will solicit donations for care packages to deliver to soldiers serving overseas.

“We’re going to collect beef jerky, gum, 2-in-1 shampoo and body wash and cookies. They like cookies,” said incoming 9th grader Kylie Monson. Her group heard from U.S. Army Warrant Officer Morgan Gorman as part of their research.

Learning about what makes a community strong was only part of the experience for these students. They each learned something about what makes themselves strong.

“You can lead in your own way and kids discovered what their strengths are,” said Dr. Erin Washburn. She is with Binghamton University’s Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership and oversaw the program. “I think what the kids got out of it is they learned they have a voice. What they say is important.”

They also learned how to say it. While many were nervous about presenting in public their research, practice and preparation helped them overcome that fear.

“I was really nervous at first but I just went up there and talked about what I believe in,” said Monson. “I think it gave me a lot of skills I can use in presentations later in life.”

“You need to be confident getting up in front of everybody. The teachers made it a comfortable area so that helped,” said incoming 9th grader Cody Lewis.

Lewis was part of the sports group. That group of students is planning on organizing a wiffle ball tournament complete with student bands and sponsors to raise money that will either go to Klumpp Park or modified and JV sports programs in Windsor.

Another example of how this summer camp could have an impact on the community for years to come.

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