Students get unique tour of city

July 18, 2008 3:32:36 PM PDT
Kids are the explorers on a new tour of Chicago's communities. Some students are learning about how children are raised in other neighborhoods. It's an adventure that takes them outside of their summer school classroom. ABC7's Theresa Gutierrez joined their trip and has the story. My Chicago is a new four-week CPS program for freshmen. Twenty students from across the city are examining questions of identity, community and power using Chicago neighborhoods as their classroom. Their first stop was Uptown.

"I did not know uptown was so diverse and going through gentrification," said Ezra Lampson, Northside Prep.

Garfield Park, Pilsen, and then in Hyde Park, the students spent the day walking through the streets of the neighborhoods, visiting with community leaders and learning about cultural institutions.

"It helps us to get a better understanding of different communities outside of our own," said Shawenelle Jackson, Steinmetz High School.

"I expect them to navigate this city in a way they have not before," said Lampson. "To get a better understanding of what Chicago is to them."

One stop was the St. Francis of Assisi church on Roosevelt Road, a church the community stopped from being demolished. The teacher talks to the students about the power people have.

"People that work together can do anything, we have to stick together," said Jackson.

"Little people can make a difference," said Caneisha McHenry, Phoenix Military Academy. "This opens me up to a whole new world. It shows there is more to Chicago."

One stop was the Rudy Lozano Library, named after a community activist and community leader who was assassinated while running for political office in 1983. His son said Friday is Lozano's birthday. He would have been 57 years old

"My father was assassinated in June of 1983," said Rudy Lozano Jr., community activist.

"I am learning about current situations in these neighborhoods. I am looking forward to visiting them and maybe someday helping people in these communities change things," said Daniel Gonzalez, Jones Academy.

Students will get an opportunity to return to the various communities and learn more about their impact on Chicago and how people of different backgrounds can learn to appreciate and live with one another.


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