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High school students meet at Heinz History Center for final Student Summit preparations

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Students gather in front of an exhibit at Heinz History Center
Andrew Chiappazzi

Student leaders from Woodland Hills High School met with their peers from other districts at the Heinz History Center on Monday to bond a bit more and to work on the final preparations for the 2023 Student Summit.

The students have been collaborating over email, Zoom, group chats and group documents, but working in person allows for greater collaboration. Under the direction of organizer Ms. Erin Wall, an English teacher at Woodland Hills High School, the Student Summit preparations have included two meet-and-greet collaboration sessions to help students workshop ideas prior to this year's Summit. The first gathering was in November, while this one at the Heinz History Center enabled students to meet again in advance of the fourth multi-district Student Summit takes place on February 10.

Student leaders from Aliquippa High School, Avonworth High School, Belle Vernon Area High School, Mt. Lebanon High School, Penn Hills High School, Westmont Hilltop High School and Woodland Hills High School have been working together to prepare group discussions addressing issues that they have hand-picked for this year's Student Summit. Those topics include Women’s Rights, LGBTQ, Mental Health, Quality Animal Care, Racial and Social Injustice, Gun Violence, and Climate Change.

The two meet-and-greet collaboration sessions have included guidance from experts and tips on how to navigate group dynamics. To emphasize teamwork - and have a bit of fun in an educational environment - the students took part in a scavenger hunt on Monday that led them throughout the Heinz History Center's displays and exhibits.

Following that warm-up activity, the students gathered in their groups to put together some of the finishing touches on their presentations and how they'll approach their topics during the Student Summit. On February 10, the student leaders will be joined by a couple hundred of their peers to further discuss these important issues. Advisors from multiple schools were on hand to provide guidance, as were representatives from Student Summit partners at the L.I.G.H.T. Education Initiative and Penn State Extension 4-H.

The 2023 Student Summit will be the fourth hosted by Woodland Hills and the second to be an in-person event featuring multiple districts. The first summit was only Woodland Hills students, while the second was held virtually with multiple districts.

Students gather in front of an exhibit at Heinz History Center
Students gather at an exhibit at the Heinz History Center
Students gather at an exhibit at the Heinz History Center
Students sit at a table with laptops and talk with each other
Students sit at a table with laptops and talk with each other
Students sit at a table with laptops and talk with each other