YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A different kind of class was in session Saturday for Youngstown City Schools, as hundreds gathered at local schools in an effort to reduce violence in the city and promote education.
Neighbors from across the city’s school district came out to Taft, MLK, McGuffey and Harding for the event — which was tagged Advancing Education/Reducing Crime Day.
“We’ve got to get people in Youngstown believing that we are making positive change, that their children all can learn that we can work together collectively,” said event organizer Jon Howell.
There was a free breakfast and lunch, while over 3,000 books were given out to students at the four schools. There were also essay writing contests, fire truck demonstrations, live music, free hair cuts and plenty of giveaways. A march was also held at McGuffey Elementary.
Even some local faces got involved, as Mayor John McNally and Youngstown State President Jim Tressel spent time reading to kids.
“It’s very impressive to see all the people stepping up — from all parts of the community — to step in and help our students and remind ourselves that education is key,” Tressel said.
Advancing Education/Reducing Crime Day
Advancing Education/Reducing Crime Day x
Howell and his wife Adrienne started the event. The two now live in Illinois, but return to the Valley often.
Howell went to Monroe Elementary School, Hillman junior high and South High School, graduating in 1980.
“They made me the man I am today,” he said.
Howell said he wants to have a strong impact on the city of Youngstown, but knows he can’t do it alone.
Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip was in attendance Saturday at Taft Elementary. He said the event marked a big step in getting parents and the community involved in the school system.
“We didn’t know how many people were going to show up,” Mohip said. “So you go from school site to school site. It’s crowded.”