North Lawndale

‘Pushing back against the stereotype': Chicago students spend last day of school giving back

"We want to make sure people know kids around our age are not out here just doing bad things."

NBC Universal, Inc.

On the last day of classes at North Lawndale College Prep's Christiana Campus in Chicago, there was one last assignment for students before summer break: Get out into the community and give back.

“A lot people could have missed school today, but we decided to come here and feed people," said 12th grader Armonie Solomon.

They made and gave away hundreds of sack lunches. The picked up trash. They pulled weeds in the community garden and painted a mural. This is a day of service for the North Lawndale community.

"We want to make sure people know kids around our age are not out here just doing bad things," Solomon said.

"We are all about uplifting each other, uplifting our people, uplifting our community," said 10th grader Layla Stacker.

Gerald Smith, the manager of the school’s Peace Warriors and Student Voice, said the school is cultivating a new generation of leaders and igniting change.

"There is an unfortunate narrative around young people moving into the summer," Smith said, "when you see them together … and it is an unfortunate narrative. These students, they are pushing back against the stereotype to say we are doing good for those in our neighborhood. The love that we have been incubating in the building is now spilling out into our community."

"It was even cool to see members of the community thanking us," said Laura Buckley, who teaches Spanish. "They were saying, 'Thank, thank you – we appreciate what you all are doing.'"

Contact Us