Suffolk students demand change

Published 10:58 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Suffolk high school students who are involved in the Be Fight Free campaign feel that their efforts are helping to prevent violence in Suffolk — but more can be done.

“We’ve lost too many good, good students because of violence in the streets,” said Logan Masters, a Lakeland High School junior.

The students are taking their campaign directly to the School Board. On Thursday, BFF student representatives will meet with their School Board representatives to discuss the changes they would like to see.


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Overall, Be Fight Free committee members feel that having more free and low-cost recreation facilities and activities in their neighborhoods would help create unity and eliminate idle time.

“We have nothing to do,” said Whitney Nichols, a King’s Fork High School senior. “I think that’s why drama gets started. We just need to get our ideas going.”

BFF representatives are generating ideas to take to the School Board, but they have already developed plans for recreation facilities, fundraising alternatives and other plans.

“Kids get bored easily especially in Suffolk,” said Fletcher Stephens, King’s Fork School sophomore. “I want to see kids come out and be interested, but there have to be things for them to do, and there’s not much for them to do. I’d like to see an affordable community center.”

Students at both King’s Fork and Lakeland high schools suggested turning the old Lowe’s building on Godwin Boulevard into a recreation center. Some suggested it would be a good place for a skating rink or a bowling alley, while others thought it could be a sports center with a rock-climbing wall, swimming pool and more.

“It’s a huge building, great location, but it’s going to waste,” Nichols said.

BFF members from Nansemond River High School suggested using the old Tidewater Community College facilities for recreation.

Despite the fact that the North Suffolk area is growing, there are few things to do in the area, students said.

“There’s mostly eating places,” Nichols said. “We need something kids can do without coming out of their pockets.”

Students suggested a panel discussion with school principals, city representatives, School Board members and more.

“We need to sit down with representatives from the city and with the school board to plan,” said Devon Dunston, Lakeland High School student.

“I want to see the crime rate go down,” said Cheyenne Sandefur, Lakeland High School student. “I’m a senior, so I’m not going to be in Suffolk much longer, but I’m going to make my difference while I’m here.”