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AG Yost Commends Springfield Students for Thoughtful Reflections on Youth Violence


(SPRINGFIELD, Ohio) — Youth violence has become a growing societal problem that demands prompt attention and effective solutions. The way Springfield middle-schooler Adolfo Cruz Jr. sees it, there’s one obvious place to start:

In order to stop youth violence we have to first look at the kids who are invisible from others, when kids or teens who are ignored or not payed attention to it triggers a emotion of anger and sadness towards them which lets it control them and if they let this anger control them they want to do something violent as in a few examples: kill, steal, hate towards others who haven’t done anything to them and make others feel bad toward each other.

Adolfo shared his impressive insight as part of an essay for Do the Write Thing, a national anti-violence program that encourages seventh- and eighth-graders to explore how violence affects their lives and to propose remedies.

His essay and those of nine other middle-schoolers from the Springfield City School District earned all 10 recognition today from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost as program finalists. Yost's office collaborates with the National Campaign to Stop Youth Violence, creator of Do the Write Thing, to bring the program to school districts throughout Ohio.

“Once again, Springfield students were asked to write about how violence impacts their daily lives and to share their ideas of how to reduce violence in their community.,” the Attorney General wrote in the introduction to a booklet containing the essays of the Springfield finalists. “They tackled the difficult subject with candor, thoughtfulness and insight beyond their years.”

Do the Write Thing originated in Ohio in 2021, when Springfield became the first district statewide to partner on the program with Yost’s office. Bolstered by that success, the program has since expanded to four other Ohio districts: Canton, Lima, Youngstown and Zanesville.

This year, more than 900 Springfield seventh- and eighth-graders participated in the program. The award ceremony honoring the finalists took place this morning at the John Legend Theater.

“I understand that writing about violence isn’t easy,” said AG Yost, who joined the students at the celebration. “But your essays were profound, enlightening and thought-provoking – exactly what we need to hear from you, our young citizens, to gain a better understanding of the world you envision and the reality you face.”

Springfield-area business leaders and community members judged the essays, selecting the 10 chosen for publication in the booklet, which will be distributed statewide.

Tah’ Tionna Taylor and Adolfo – along with six students from the three other Ohio districts participating in the program this school year – were chosen as ambassadors to represent the district in July at the Do the Write Thing national conference in Washington, D.C.

Springfield Superintendent Robert Hill emphasized how addressing serious topics through writing, though sobering, can also be empowering .

“No community is immune to violence and its devastating effects, but to turn the tables and create positive change in our school, neighborhoods and cities should be commended and acknowledged,” he said. “Your voices are making an impact in our community and throughout Ohio.”

Since its inception in 1994, Do the Write Thing has influenced millions of students nationwide.

Hannah Hundley: 614-906-9114


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