Texas Teens Speak Out on Community Issues; Leaders Listen, Dec. 1

Event: More than 150 high school students from throughout Texas will meet with community leaders to present solutions for addressing problems in their communities, including what to do with abandoned big-box stores; how to ensure student input in school governance decisions; and whether high school alternative learning centers are meeting student needs.

The presentations are part of the Speak Up! Speak Out! Civics Fair where high school students showcase semester-long research on community problems and present innovative solutions.

Participating students come from the following communities:

Austin: Akins, Austin, Crockett, Garza Independence and McCallum high schools

San Antonio: Highlands and Navarro high schools

Pflugerville: Pflugerville High School, Westview Middle School

Round Rock: Stony Point High School

Fort Worth: Southwest High School (via videoconference)

Corpus Christi: Collegiate High School (via videoconference)

When: 3:45 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 1

Where: The LBJ School of Public Affairs on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Students' table displays will be set up in the Bass Lecture Hall Lobby. (please include links to maps.)

Background: The Speak Up! Speak Out! Program, organized by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation at The University of Texas at Austin, is a project-based civic education program that engages high school students in research and problem-solving around local community problems. The civics fair is the program's culminating event in which students present their proposed solutions via table displays and speeches, and compete for cash prizes to use to implement their solutions. In the past, topics have included issues as diverse as teen pregnancy, urban business development, water quality and bullying. The Speak Up! Speak Out! Civics Fair has taken place in Central Texas for the past nine years.

The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation was established in 2000 to respond to growing political cynicism and disaffection in the United States. The goals of the institute are to conduct cutting-edge research on the ways in which civic participation and community understanding are undermined or sustained and to develop new programs for increasing democratic understanding among citizens.