Fayette’s future important to teens

Corey Soper's picture

Last month, I was invited to participate in a focus group made up of high school students from around the county as part of the Fayette Visioning Initiative, a process that is working toward a plan for the future of Fayette County. Following that session, I was asked to write about my experience.

The student session, held at the Fayette County Public Library, was the second of two Fayette Vision meetings in which high school students were asked to participate.

Jonathan Miller, a representative from Market Street Services, facilitated the discussion explaining that we were one of many focus groups, comprising members of different ages and professions, who would be gathering to discuss a long-term plan for Fayette County.

The goal of the focus group was to gain input from students currently enrolled in Fayette County high schools about our current impressions of the county and what improvements we thought could be made to make the county a better place to live in the future.

Specifically, our focus group was asked what we like about Fayette County, our concerns in the area and what we would thought could be changed or improved in the future.

One issue we discussed was safety across the county. For the most part, the high school students in attendance said they feel safe in Fayette County; however, some of the students gave examples of areas where they do not feel comfortable socializing with friends or where their parents prohibit them from driving alone. We agreed that ensuring the safety of all residents should be a priority for the future of the whole county.

We talked about the differences between Fayetteville and Peachtree City, the differences among our high schools and whether it was important for students to be able to specialize in specific career-oriented tracks in high school, such as healthcare, business technology, communications, etc. We also compared the size and quality of recreational facilities in Fayette County with those in other counties.

The focus group session only lasted about 90 minutes, but we were able to cover a lot of topics. I realized that it is important for teenagers to have a say in the future of their hometowns, especially if the goal is to encourage us to return here after we finish college to live and work.

It made me feel like we are part of something bigger and that our opinions matter. I appreciated the opportunity to represent my high school as part of countywide project.

[Corey Soper, Class of 2016, is in the 10th grade at Starr’s Mill High School.]