We started off the afternoon by picking up the students from three different schools, four from Passaic High School, three from Technology High School, and two from Barringer Academy of Arts and Humanities in Newark. After settling the carpooling situation, we headed off to CityPlex 12 in Newark. Following the movie, we headed to a meeting space donated by Teach for America’s Newark office, where we settled down to eat and then discuss movie. Students led a conversation about the movie and its relationship to their own lives for over two hours with little facilitation. I was extremely impressed by the insight students brought to a variety of issues. Teresa, Kaitlyn, and I happily contributed to the vibrant discussion. Bringing together students from two different cities, three different schools, and four different grades (9-12) provided a rich diversity of experience to the conversation.
After the discussion—and the all important dinner from Ferry St. BBQ— we took some pictures, cleaned up the room, and said our goodbyes. Teresa, Kaitlyn, and I took the different students home. That night and at school in the days that followed, many of the students expressed the importance of conversations like the one we had. One student said to me, “We need to have more of those!” I wholeheartedly agree, and hope we at IGNITE can continue to provide spaces for them.