About 100 students from schools across the city and country will take part in the second annual Wake UP! Student Empowerment Summit this Saturday at the Charlotte Convention Center.
They'll be joined by CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison, Johnson C. Smith University President Ron Carter, State School Board Member John Tate and others.
Vance senior Mona Zahir wrote the following letter about her involvement with Wake UP!:
"For the past four years, I have been a proud Cougar at Vance High School. And as a senior reaching that time to walk across the stage at graduation, I’d been thinking a lot about how to make an everlasting impact at my school – to show my appreciation for all the nurturing it took to make me to be the scholar I am today. On Saturday, March 16th, I’ll have the chance to do make that impact – joining 100 of my fellow CMS students at the second annual Wake UP! Student Empowerment Summit. From Vance, Garinger, West Charlotte, Philip O. Berry, Harding, Lake Normal, Cochrane Collegiate, Walter G. Byers, and Quail Hollow, we’ll come together to talk about the future of education in Charlotte.
"Wake UP! gives students like us a voice in the movement for educational equality for all. Vance is not the dangerous place it’s often made out to be, but our schools are certainly in danger. Here in Charlotte, we see an opportunity gap at work – with zip code and income playing a central role in access to great educational options. At Saturday’s event, we’ll address this head on – to “wake up” our peers, teachers, principals, school board members, and other important community members. We want to show you that we care about our education and that we’re prepared to be a part of building something better.
"I hope the event pushes educators and administrators to ask the hard questions about what our district needs and how to better meet the needs of schools and students not getting the supports they need. And I hope our leaders will begin to see the leaders in us – partners in building the future we’ll one day run.
"Wake UP! is what I want to give to Vance – a platform for students to have their voices heard and become leaders in the movement for educational equity. The battle is far from over but March 16 is surely a start."
Mona is an active member in student government, varsity softball and community service. She plans to study mass communications at UNC Chapel Hill in the fall.