Dan McCarty civics class team in Project Citizen state finals

Project Citizen is designed to help students learn how public policy is initiated and implemented at the various government levels. A significant portion of the Civics curriculum is allotted to this project. Students are responsible for identifying a community problem, examine alternative policies, develop a policy, and develop an action plan as a solution. The students in John Hett’s Civics class felt the problem of senior citizen (age 65 and over) depression is largely overlooked. Their research indicated 20% of seniors nationwide could be classified as clinically depressed. According to verifiable data the largest contributor was isolation. After investigating available alternative policies, the students realized there were very few. Part of their “Action Plan” was to form a non-profit organization named Students 4 Seniors. The entity would initially be formed and funded at the local level, with the intent of it being a model which could be replicated nationally. The basis of the plan would be to have available students adopt designated seniors. This would be similar to how older students adopt younger people in the Big Sister/Big Brother programs. Students 4 Seniors is the one of six projects being considered to represent Florida in the national competition to be held later this year. “Obviously the students are honored and excited about what they have accomplished as they should be. Regardless of whether they advance or not, we should all be proud of what they have already done in raising awareness for this problem.” Pictured, front row from left, are Emmanuel Riggins, Abigail Solorzano, Jeaniela Cazimy, and Jasmine Kennedy. Second row from left, are David Stephens, Michael Reich, Antonio Farfan, Ariana Mendoza, and Andrew Fenn. Third row from left, are Barneshia Tindall, Ladarren Johnson, Desire Creel, Antonique Scavella, Brandon Fore, Terrence Rivers, Jacob Klump, and Gabriela Lezcano Gamas. Teacher John Hett is in the back.