Listening and Learning Testimonial from Wendy Yacoub, Envision Loudoun Stakeholder Committee member and Special Education Teacher at Tuscarora High School:
I was the facilitator for one of the 5th grade tables at J. Lundsford Middle School for the Envision Loudoun Listening and Learning Workshop. I was very excited to work with these students since I am a high school teacher. I felt that I could get some perspective of how to work with the younger students. These students were amazing! They followed directions very well and what surprised me was they actually took time to think things out. The question posed to these students was “What would you add or change to make your community or school a better place?” First they were asked to draw a picture of their vision. As they drew their pictures I walked around and asked them what they were drawing and how their ideas would make their community a better place. I would classify these students as visionaries with what they came up with.
Some students drew their neighborhoods and what they needed in those neighborhoods, like parks that are close by so they can go play by themselves, others added traffic signals to make their neighborhood safer. Others wanted to create areas in their neighborhoods that are wildlife sanctuaries. One student drew buildings and wrote on them “rent only $1000”. I asked him what that meant, and he replied that more people need to be able to afford to live here (Loudoun County), hence affordable dwellings. The same student also drew these wide roads and he explained that we need to make our roads bigger because there is too much traffic. One student drew windmills, which I thought was very interesting; he basically said we need to include alternative energy resources like windmills and solar panels. I thought these students’ input was valuable because they took it seriously and really put a lot of thought into everything they did. I filled up a page and a half with their suggestions, which mostly matched up with the suggestions of the adults. Most of these students wanted growth while still maintaining the natural beauty of their community. There was one “kid” item that was brought up which gave me a chuckle, they wanted a homework machine.
I feel extremely lucky to have worked with the future of Loudoun County!