The 11th annual OAV Summit took place on May 9th at Guaranteed Rate Field (home of the White Sox) in Chicago, and at the State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois on May 16th. The program, which began in a handful of Chicago area schools, now extends from Wadsworth to Mattoon, Danville to Peoria, inner city Chicago to rural Arcola. 85% of its participants are part of their school’s free/reduced price lunch program, and nearly 80% are African-American or Hispanic. More than two hundred and fifty student-led community initiatives have been successfully completed since the program began.
This year’s event once again set new records for participation. At both locations, students and teachers, who have been collaborating with other participating schools online throughout the school year, had the opportunity to share the fruits of their labors with one another. They also heard via video from Senator Dick Durbin, a long-time supporter of the program. In Chicago, former Senator and former Ambassador Carol Moseley-Braun was the keynote speaker (you can listen to an interview with Ambassador Moseley-Braun on WGN about the program and the importance of civics education here).
The Springfield summit featured Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis as keynoter. Springfield participants also met with their state legislators about their work, attended a legislative session, and met newly-elected governor J.P. Pritzker. As can be seen from the photos taken by attendees in both locations, a powerfully good time was had by all.