Evans High School student group pushes for change in Pine Hills

By Erin Murray, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 08, 2017, 11:02 AM EST

The sirens heard outside of Evans High School are drowned out inside by young voices who are ready for change.

  • Evans High School group gets involved in community
  • Future Leaders United attended Pine Hills meeting
  • Young people engaged local leaders

"What do you guys want to be?” asked Kedrine Gayle, to another student. “You look like a business man.”

Gayle is a senior at Evans High School and the president of the after school program Future Leaders United (FLU). On Tuesday, she and other club members worked on homework and discussed local government.

“Our goal is to really engage with the community, to really understand where Pine Hills is at,”  said Gayle.

The students in FLU understand well the stigmas and issues that surround the area of Pine Hills.

“Pine Hills is known as 'Crime Hills,'” said Gayle. “It’s known as a place with a lot of food deserts and so on, and the incarceration rates are up, as well as we have a lot of unemployment.”

But the students also understand that creating change means getting involved. So after their FLU meeting ended, the same young students attended the Pine Hills community meeting a few hours later.  

Tuesday’s main topic on the agenda was the budget for the next year and how it works. Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph, Orange County District 6 Commissioner Victoria Siplin, and Orange County Budget Manager Kurt Petersen all took turns fielding questions and sharing information.

Many people in the crowd asked questions, including three FLU students.

“Is there a specific time for that money to be used up or is it automatically go into the next budget year?” asked Gayle.

She and her fellow students left inspired and with ideas about how to apply for grants.  

“I do believe we shouldn’t let finance be an excuse for not achieving our goals, for not achieving our dreams,” said Gayle. “So I do believe this money will be used in a very good way.”