Students from across Siskiyou County came together each day at College of the Siskiyous in Weed, where they were led through a writing process to address a local civic concern as part of the Northern California Writing Project.

Adults often dismiss teenagers as shallow, disengaged or uninterested in civic issues that affect their communities. This perception couldn’t be more untrue, especially when it comes to the nine high school students who participated in a two week long, intensive Siskiyou Students Write! camp earlier this month.

Students from across Siskiyou County came together each day at College of the Siskiyous in Weed, where they were led through a writing process to address a local civic concern as part of the Northern California Writing Project.

Each student selected a topic that is important to them personally and wrote a polished piece that seeks to address their concern in an actionable way, explained Dr. Robbin Jack, an English teacher at Enterprise High School in Redding, who led the camp for the National Writing Project.

“The camp supported students in researching, reading, and assessing the credibility of non-fiction sources about a civic/community issue of their choice, and included interviews, observations, and print/non-print research,” Jack explained. “Students carefully assessed their issue, making sure it was an issue where action could be taken and where multiple perspectives on the issue exist. Having an authentic audience motivated students to attend carefully to their message, the credibility of their sources, and the final touches of editing and proofreading.”

Students in any year of high school from any Siskiyou County school were eligible to apply for a slot in the camp. The camp was co-facilitated by Melissa Gulden, an English teacher for Anderson Union High School district and a columnist for Enjoy Magazine.

Topics of concern ranged from mental health in teens, the lack of art programs at Weed High School, homelessness, cyberbullying, the desire to see Yreka’s Broadway Twin reestablished and the lack of jobs for youth in Mount Shasta.

The teens expressed their concerns with passion and tact. While addressing a complaint or concern, the teens worked to research their topic and came away with a better understanding of the challenges faced in “fixing” the problem.

Most of the concerns boil down to funding issues, said Jack. Once they delved into the issues, students found that economic challenges in Siskiyou County are many and affect everything from derelict storefronts in Weed to the closing of the Yreka’s Ringe Pool.

The teens will have their opinions featured weekly in the Siskiyou Daily News, and the first is below.