Last month, Rachel Kim, South Side Weekly‘s outgoing education editor, had the idea to hold a student essay contest this summer. The theme for the contest was topical: as Lori Lightfoot was to be sworn in as mayor, we wanted to hear what middle and high school students from around the South Side wanted Mayor Lightfoot “to know and understand about [their] neighborhood,” and the “stories and memories about the people and places in [their] community” that “best exemplify the future of Chicago [they] want to see.”
One of the winners is a junior and Hancock College Prep, one of the city’s Chicago public schools. In “Windy City: The City with Less Air to Breathe,” Karla Santiago writes:
“The race towards our end is getting closer. We need to slow down and breathe. My neighborhood has many children and many of them are still developing. Their lungs breathe in and out quicker than us because they’re constantly running outside. There’s also a population of older residents, and they struggle to leave their house because their small brittle bones ache when they move. I envision a Chicago with fewer children developing asthma, and where there is a reduced risk of developmental and reproductive harm.”
Read Santiago’s essay and the two other winning essays at South Side Weekly site.
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