Pearl Cohn Students Work To Improve North Nashville Community - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Pearl Cohn Students Work To Improve North Nashville Community

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by Emily Luxen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A group of Pearl Cohn High School students are taking big steps to improve their community.

At a town hall meeting Wednesday, several juniors at the school presented ideas they feel can make a positive impact on North Nashville. 

Their presentations are part of a Project Based Learning (PBL) assignment, that is part of the curriculum at many Metro Nashville Public Schools.

"They do have the ability to make a difference," said Shanique McCallister, an English and Critical Thinking teacher at Pearl Cohn. "They are 16 or 17 and they will be voting soon.  We want them to understand things going on in their community."

Students are focusing their efforts on Jefferson Street. They presented ideas centered around reducing crime and gang activity, and helping to restore pride in that area.

"It's not normally perceived as a good place," said Tauj Kelly, a Pearl Cohn junior. "We want to change that."

"Just cleaning it up can change the overall look of it," said Kitana Boyce, another Pearl Cohn junior. "It can change the way people think."

The students' plans were already in the works when one of their classmates was shot and killed last month. 17-year-old Johnathan Johnson was killed April 11, while leaving his house, on his way to a nearby bus stop. 

On May 1, Metro Police arrested 17-year-old Eric Goodner at the Village Place Apartment Complex on Oak Valley Drive. 

He was charged in Juvenile Court with criminal homicide. The news shook the Pearl Cohn community, and students said it made their projects even more important.

"It's been hectic and everyone is sad he's gone," said Myia Wright, a Pearl Cohn junior. "We need to come together and focus on the positive."

Students hope to work with city officials to make their ideas happen. Former Metro School Board member Ed Kindall listened to their presentations. 

Students also hope to schedule an upcoming meeting with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.


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