Last month, I visited St. Anne Community High School to speak to one of the civics classes taught by Neal Buck.
In advance of the appearance, Buck asked me to address how to write a letter to a local newspaper, in this case, the Daily Journal. I provided guidelines for the students and encouraged them to submit letters for publication.
The students wrote both individual and group letters as part of their civics action project, 10 in all. The letters appear below. We, at the Daily Journal, appreciate letters from readers of all ages, and are gratified these young men and women took the time to write them.
Teachers should have CPR certification
Our civic action group is wanting to create a policy were teachers and staff of the state of Illinois maintain CPR certification throughout their teaching career.
We want this policy to be in place for us, the students of Illinois, so we can be safe if something were to happen. Last year, choking was the main cause of death for children. We took a survey of the teachers of St. Anne Community High School, and 94 percent of staff believed it would be beneficial to maintain CPR certification throughout their career.
On the same form, less than 50 percent of teachers said they have CPR certification. I propose a new school policy that requires teachers to maintain CPR certification throughout their whole career. This policy will cost nothing because our local fire station offers free CPR classes.
We would like our policy to be in place by the year of 2018. Thank you for your time to read this important letter.
Forest fires destroying nature
In our civic action group, we are working on the environmental harm crisis caused by forest fires. This issue is important because our wildlife is diminishing and if we don’t stop it now, everyone will have to live without nature.
According to National Geographic, more than 100,000 forest fires happen each year, destroying many homes and habitats. Just recently, a forest fire in Gatlinburg, Tenn., erupted and destroyed homes, landmarks and habitats of many animals. Since this fire happened, many people are out of jobs and homes and the animals have nowhere to go.
These fires are one of the root causes of environmental harm and if we don’t stop it now, we eventually will be forced to evolve and survive without trees. Recently, we conducted a survey at our school that students had the choice to participate in. These studies are showing the leading cause in forest fires is, indeed, humans.
In the survey, the majority of the participants said the leading cause of forest fires were because of humans. Along with the survey that was sent out to the school, more than 80 percent of people said they were willing to help. With awareness and advertisements, our crisis will have the chance to change and diminish if people help with the issue.
We have been working on this project for a month now, researching and trying to find ways to help the crisis, and with awareness and advertisements, we will have the chance to make a change.
Distracted driving often deadly
Hi, we are sophomores from St. Anne Community High School, and our group is doing a civic action project about raising awareness and ultimately stopping distracted driving caused by technology.
Our research shows almost 4,000 drivers die each year by texting and driving. It also shows 391,000 people were injured in 2015 by distracted driving and the number continues to grow each year. It even shows 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the U.S. is caused by texting and driving, which means texting and driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
The worst part of distracted driving is when the family of the victim(s) are involved. Could you even imagine what it would be like to have a very close family member die or be seriously injured because there was just a single person who decided to text and drive? How do you think it would feel to have that happen, and try to think of all of the thoughts or emotions that you would experience if they died or were seriously injured?
Let's improve recycling efforts
We are coming to you to present our concern for the efforts of recycling in St. Anne, Ill.
In the past few weeks, we have gathered information on the amount of garbage that does not get recycled in a year. During our research, we had found the average person produces around 4 pounds of garbage in one day, and only recycles 1.51 pounds of that garbage per day. This is 33 percent of our overall waste.
If we are able to recycle at least 45 to 50 percent of our waste in St. Anne and Kankakee County, as a whole, we will be able to affect this statistic and make our county more efficient and environmentally friendly. In our efforts, we can make sure certain instances like a new dump in Kankakee County similar to what was attempted on Hieland Road a few years ago never happen in our county.
A survey was conducted, and out of St. Anne Community High School, 90 percent of the students were willing to recycle and/or praised the idea of recycling in the high school and St. Anne. If we can gather the support, we can better Kankakee County and, specifically, St. Anne as a community.
Child abuse a growing problem
Child abuse is a growing problem in the U.S., as well as all around the world.
In 2015, an estimate of 1,670 children died from child abuse (nationalchildrensalliance.com). That’s 0.00000523675 percent of the U.S. population, and although that is not very much, that’s still one child too many.
We are working on a Civic Action Project for our civics class at St. Anne Community High School on spreading awareness on the problems of child abuse. We have been working thoroughly on our project in order to achieve our goal. Our goal is to spread awareness of child abuse in our town so it can grow into a bigger cause.
We have done several things so far as to help with our goal like making a PSA, sending emails to the St. Anne Police Department and Department of Children and Family Services and talking to our counselors at school. We have found ways for children to get help during our research like contacting the police or contacting DCFS.
We hope the outcome of the letter will be that it spreads awareness to people reading this letter of the problems of child abuse, and we hope it inspires them to help the cause. Thank you for your time.
Animal abuse awareness must increase
Animal abuse is a serious matter in our communities today, and, therefore, more awareness should be spread about the situation.
This is why we decided to focus our Civic Action Project on the topic of animal abuse. According to Dosomething.org, “Homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren't enough adoptive homes.”
Not to mention the fact that abuse can leave lasting effects on the animal. Scarring, lost limbs or mental issues can be caused by animal abuse and are often permanent.
Abuse often starts with animals but almost never stops there. According to Rescueinc.org, “70 percent of animal abusers also have records of other crimes.” This can cause problems in our communities that we need to stop before it even happens.
You can do this by contacting the police or your local animal shelter if you see any signs of animal abuse. This can help protect you and your community. When you witness animal abuse or you are suspicious of it, please report it. The worst thing you could do is ignore the problem. These animals don’t have [a] voice, so as humans, we have to help defend them and be their voice.
We hope by the end of our project more people in our communities are better informed, and there will be less cases of animal abuse. Help us make the change by reporting and also spreading awareness about animal abuse.
Animal abuse a prevalent problem
Even though you might not see animal abuse, it happens more than most people realize.
It’s been estimated there are 900 to 2,000 new cases every year of animal hoarding in the U.S., with 250,000 animals falling victim. Many animals are abused behind closed doors. Animal abuse happens in many ways. Animal abuse is emotional and physical, leaving your animal in a cage or small pen for long periods of time can make for different types of stress conditions.
There was a big puppy mill bust that happened not long ago here in St. Anne. The reasons for the topic of animal abuse is to inform people of the real severity of the problem. Some of the emotions we have seen are from the stories of the abused animals we have looked into. This is emotion because the stories are sad; they get attention and sympathy from people who have a good heart and who really care.
We have contacted experienced people about the topic such as veterinarians, humane societies and authorities. They were such a great help in our research and our project. According to the Kankakee Humane Society, the local establishment was closed down because it was a very unclean and an unlivable place for the dogs and even humans.
Change needed as gun violence hits home
According to Illinois State Police Trooper Ms. Jayme Bufford, gun violence in Illinois has been cut off into sections instead of a statewide statistic.
For instance, in 2017 alone, gun violence in Chicago is at 11 expressway shootings, five confirmed shooting and no fatalities.
But Chicago isn’t the only city in Illinois that is experiencing out-of-control gun violence. Just recently, a shooting in the local Pembroke Township has taken a toll on local residents as the death of Clarence Riley shocks the city.
Gun violence can really bring tragedies into a community, which can cause many unwanted conflicts and gossip between people. If gun violence were to be reduced, we can better lives, the community and people's well being.
Gun violence is a trending statistic in the United States, and can lead to different communities being affected by the same people of other communities. Gun violence is a big issue in America, and with the right strategies and attitudes, America can change that.
We, as the people, need to all get on board if we want to see a change in these gun policies. So please, when you read this, set out to help the students of St. Anne Community High School impact the school.
Healthy snacks would be welcome
We have been challenged by our civics teacher to make an impact on an issue important to us. Our group has decided the students in our school need the opportunity to be able to consume healthy snacks when they desire.
With some research, we have found that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has tripled in children since the '70s. Healthy snacks will prevent students from feeling tired and will encourage them to participate more in activities. Their self-esteem will rise and [they] will less likely be bullied.
Right now, our school is under contract with Coca-Cola. We learned from a meeting with our principal that it would not be possible for us to sell beverages other than Coke products unless we terminate the contract completely. However, it would be possible for us to add snack machines with healthy food. We took a survey of our student body, and about 67 percent of students supported the addition of these machines.
By campaigning and gaining more support from the community, our school could raise enough money to fund the addition of healthy snack machines for the well-being of children.
Dress code targets female students
School dress codes have been changing schools worldwide. The dress code targets more females than males. It’s time we stop this.
In our years that we have attended St. Anne Community High School, we have come to realize how much more females are targeted for what they wear instead of males. The male students only are wrote up about wearing hats, hoods, muscle shirts and sagging pants. Females are told about how their shirts can and can’t look. Females can’t wear leggings, pants with too many cut designs, shorts and anything that comes above the bottom of our knees.
We want to change some things about the school dress code policy to mostly where girls can wear certain types of top and bottom clothes, but not clothing that they think very inappropriate of themselves. If we don’t change anything about the dress code, we still would have teachers, staff and the principal complaining about the clothing we wear.
Now that we’ve been attending St. Anne Community High School, we have never been dress coded about what us females have been wearing, but certain students who attend this school dress way different.