High School Workshops

Stories From Our School Workshops


Youth Gun Violence Continues To Plague Hartford

It was a frigid evening in Hartford on Feb. 7, 2007. The sun was just beginning to wink below the horizon. Deanna Pugh, 45, of Enfield, stepped out of her family’s car in front of Reyes Grocery to have a cigarette. She didn’t want to smoke in the car with Cyncere Preston, her seven-year-old granddaughter, because Cyncere had asthma.

More about:

Spending On Native Advertising Projected To Soar Online

Online posts that blur the line between content and advertisement are proliferating across the web. According to Business Insider, native advertising, as it is called, is expected to more than quadruple from 2013 to 2018, part of a larger trend away from display ads on websites. Native advertising, which Copyblogger defines as “paid content that matches a publication’s editorial standards while meeting the audience’s expectations,” comes in the form of everything from sponsored posts on Facebook to paid articles integrated within a website or blog that often relate back to a particular brand. For example, a Buzzfeed article paid for by paint company Sherwin-Williams -“17 Paint Hacks You Absolutely Need In Your Life” - offers painting tips interwoven with animated images featuring the company’s products. The post is both content and advertisement, a hallmark of native advertising.

More about:

Student Loan Debt Mires Millennials

Renee Traynor, 30, has been out of college for eight years and working, but she’s still struggling with debt. She is among an estimated 1.6 million 2003 college graduates who entered the workforce with hefty debt from college. Today, the average college graduate with a bachelor’s degree owes almost $30,000 in student loans, according to NewAmerica.org. “When I first graduated college, I was acutely aware of how much I owed in student loans, and it made it extremely challenging in finding a job,” Traynor said. Seven months after graduation from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Traynor found a well-paying job in journalism.

More about:
Zach, Fidelity, Kate

Is Social Media Hindering Our Face-To-Face Socialization Skills?

Many have seen it, the rows of people with eyes glued to their phones, whether they are on the train, at a restaurant or even in their own homes.  Are social media and the technology that makes it accessible hindering peoples’ socialization skills? In this new age of smartphones, millennials and even older individuals are finding themselves enveloped in the world of technology and social media. In a large survey conducted by Commonsensemedia.org, 90 percent of teens surveyed, ages 13 to 17, reported to have used some form of social media in their lives. Seventy-five percent of teens currently have a social networking profile, and 51 percent visit that social networking site daily. Is this fervent use of phones and social media causing a loss of social skills?

More about:

Teen Pregnancy Rates Down Statewide, But Remain High In Cities

In Connecticut and nationally, the number of teen pregnancies has decreased dramatically. But the number of teen births remain high in the state’s largest cities. From 2006 to 2010, there were 22 pregnancies for every 1,000 teens in cities such as New Britain, New Haven, Waterbury and Bridgeport, according to figures from the state Department of Public Health. According to the New Haven Register, an average of 45.6 out of every 1,000 teen girls in New Haven gave birth between 2006 and 2010, while in New Britain, the number was 57 per 1,000, and in Hartford, 61.9 out of every 1,000. Heather Mills, co-executive director at Pathways/Senderos Center in New Britain, explains why the number of teens getting pregnant remains high in cities like New Britain.

More about:

Suicide Rate High For Middle-Aged Men

The rate of suicide in men is four times higher than in women in the United States, and it may be because they use more lethal methods, some experts say. “Women tend to choose less effective means of suicide (e.g., overdosing with pills), while men choose more lethal means. More men actually wind up killing themselves,” said Dr. Harold Schwartz, psychiatrist-in-chief of the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital. Fifty-one percent of men use firearms as a method of suicide, while poisoning is the most common method of suicide for women, according to information reported by Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. The highest annual suicide rate by age group in 2013 was among people 45 to 64 years old, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

More about:

Sales Of Hair Relaxers Decline, As More Blacks Go Natural

In an emerging national trend, the African-American community is transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair. “Relaxers represent 21 percent of the black hair care market, with expenditures at $152 million, down 15 percent since 2011 due to the natural hair trend," Antonia Opiah wrote in The Huffington Post. Some women and girls, such as Kadejah Gamble, 17, of Hartford, say they are making the switch because they are concerned about the damage the harsh relaxant chemicals were doing to their hair. “My hair was getting too thin, and my hair was falling out,” she said. “I was going to look like a rat.”

Perming hair has been prevalent since 1905 and involves the use of chemicals or heat applied to hair.

More about:
Julia Schemmer

Data Reveals Persistent Anti-Semitic Unrest In Europe

The Holocaust ended 70 years ago, but a recent study from the Global 100 and the Anti-Defamation League found that that the Anti-Semitic attitudes behind the genocide are alarmingly alive within Europe. David Simon, the co-director of Genocide Studies at Yale University, is troubled by neo-Nazis in Europe. “I believe it stems from two main problems. The first is the rise of immigrant communities since they are receiving less exposure to Jewish communities,” Simon said in a Skype interview with C-HIT from Rwanda. “The bigger issue, however, is the nationalistic resurgence and the rejection of European ideas.”

The ADL study, conducted from July 2013 to February 2014, revealed that 58% of respondents in Europe harbored malevolent feelings towards people of Jewish descent. In addition, 69% of respondents in both Western and Eastern Europe claim to never have met a Jewish person.

More about:
Hartford Courant tour

Bucking A National Trend, CT Parents Read To Their Kids

Across the country, the percentage of young children who are not read to by their parents frequently is decreasing, and in many states, including Vermont and New York, it is decreasing drastically. But Connecticut is one of 11 states where the percentage is actually increasing, according to a study by the Kids Count Data Center. From 2007 to 2012, the percentage of children ages 1 to 5 in Connecticut who were read to less than three times per week increased from 10 percent to 13 percent. Nationally, only 43.5 percent of children are read to by their parents at least seven days a week, according to Child Trends’ analysis of the National Household Education Survey. Child Trends is a non-profit research group that studies child development.

More about:
Olivia Ursini

Despite Gains, A Gap In Earnings Between Women And Men Persists

Despite gains women have made in the workforce, the United States still has a significant gap between women’s and men’s earnings, in comparison to other prosperous countries. In at least six other well-developed countries, the gap between men and women’s gross income was smaller than in the U.S., where the earnings of men were $63,163, compared to women’s $41,792 - a 34 percent gap. Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia and Israel all had lower economic gaps between genders than the United States, according to the United Nations Development Programme gender-related index. “If progress continues at the rate it has since 1960, the wage gap will be closed in the United States overall in 2058,” said Julie Anderson, a research associate at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “So unless there are some significant policy changes, it does not seem it will close any time soon.”

According to the United Nations Development Programme, 56.8 percent of women and 69.3 percent of men had involvement in the labor force in the U.S. The same holds true for government: In 2013, only 18 percent of Congressional seats in the U.S. were held by women, according to data from the World Bank.  In 2014, the percentage for women seats increased only slightly, to 19 percent.

More about: