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Metro student's class project puts her in front of Congress

82880061Aniyah Porter is a sixth grader at John Early Museum Magnet Middle Prep. She never expected to be presenting her group's PBL (project based learning) project to members of Congress. But that's exactly what she did. Last September she represented Tennessee as part of the Civics Renewal Network’s Close Up Washington Program to celebrate Constitution Day and the founding document's 225th anniversary.

Students were chosen for their work on a successful civic engagement project. Aniyah and her teacher, Mrs. Gauss, received an all-expenses-paid experience of a lifetime in the Nation’s Capital.

As a fifth grader, Aniyah completed a PBL along with her classmates in Mrs. Gauss’s class that sought to secure sidewalks for North Nashville’s neighborhoods. Students began their projects by identifying possible areas for improvement in the surrounding communities. Different groups focused on various projects including covered bus shelters, a new community center and neighborhood sidewalks. In addition to identifying problems or areas of improvement, students developed an action plan for solving those problems.

Aniyah’s group wrote Mayor Karl Dean, alerting him to the urgent need for sidewalks in North Nashville. The students also took their plight to surrounding community members by presenting their argument to members of local churches. The lobbying effort worked and the Mayor credited the class for getting action, promising new sidewalks soon.

Aniyah Porter in DC Aniyah, accompanied by Mrs. Gauss, created a multimedia presentation about her group’s project which she presented to select members of Congress, including the Tennessee delegation. Congressman Cooper was so impressed with Aniyah he gave her his card and told her to contact him about being a Congressional page when she’s a junior in high school.

In addition to giving her presentation, Aniyah visited the Capitol, participate in panel discussions on the Constitution, had dinner at the Newseum and toured the national monuments. It was truly an experience to remember!

As for the sidewalks, the first new sidewalks started going in across the street just a few weeks ago.

The Civics Renewal Network is comprised of the American Bar Association, Annenberg Learner, Center for Civic Education, Bill of Rights Institute, Edward M. Kennedy Institute, Library of Congress and more.