By Kevin Blackwell – 10th Grade, Wilkinsburg High School and David Green – 10th Grade, Wilkinsburg High School
On Thursday, June 25, the Wilkinsburg community was brought together by Borough Councilwoman Marita Garrett at Eastridge Library for “Community Conversations.” The Eastridge Library was once a church, but now it is used for community events. We got there early and set-up the audio equipment. After that, we went into the back room with our media coaches and our supplies. We came up with some questions as a group, so that we could interview community members in attendance.
We introduced ourselves to Marlee Gallagher, Communications Director for the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation, and we practiced asking her a few questions.
We also talked with Larry Berger, the Executive Director of Saturday Light Brigade Radio Productions, about how to interview someone. He gave us some tips on how to ask someone for an interview, and he reminded us to listen carefully to our interviewees so that we didn’t ask the same question twice.
We interviewed community advocate and artist Dee Briggs about the future of Wilkinsburg and the importance of education. We asked her how students can improve their education and she said, “You have to take responsibility for your own education.” She went on to explain that learning can happen anywhere, not just in school. She encourages students to take advantage of new opportunities as they come.
We asked Kimberly Smith from the retirement community Village at Pennwood where she might see opportunities for young people in Wilkinsburg. She talked about the importance of taking pride in where you live. When we brought up the topic of youth employment she said, “I think it is important that the youth work. Having job skills is important to your future and to the development of the community.”
It was interesting to see how the community of Wilkinsburg and the Wilkinsburg school district are viewed differently. It seems like the two aren’t really connected. Students need to make themselves heard in the community.
Every community has good and bad youth, but the media needs to show more of the good things happening with the youth.
Kevin Blackwell is in 10th Grade at Wilkinsburg High School. He plays guitar, piano, drums, and other instruments, and he likes to draw on his own time.