FORT VALLEY, Ga. — Middle school, high school, and college students from all over Central Georgia spent the week at Fort Valley State University, looking for ways of increasing their chances of getting a college diploma.
Fort Valley State University gave Central Georgia students the opportunity to use their voices this week at their REP4 Learners Summit.
Xavier Wright is a senior at Fort Valley, and he is helping lead the summit.
"This summit is to basically get children to be involved in their educational development," Wright said.
Minority and low-income students have lower graduation and higher dropout rates in college.
These students divided into groups to figure out why that's happening, and then ways to overcome any roadblocks.
"This program showed me how being an inclusive school, and including everybody could broaden your horizons, and show you that you're not alone," Christian Murphy said.
Christian Murphy will be a Fort Valley Wildcat in the Fall, he says attending this program made him even more eager to come school.
"You're never too young to solve a problem, no matter how big the problem is because everyone has a point of view, and a perspective," Murphy said.
Each group designed a prototype of what they believe an inclusive school would offer.
"I remember one time I said I was depressed in middle school, and a kid laughed and kind of mocked me," Miracle Willis said.
Miracle Willis is a Crawford County High school graduate, her group's ideal school includes a mental health awareness program.
"I know friends who also went through the same thing and it was hard for me because I didn't have anyone to talk to. I figured if this was actually in school, I would've done better," Willis said.
Other groups tackled issues such as hunger, physical health, and providing more after school activities.
The solutions they create may end up helping them and their peers take that final walk for a diploma at the end of college.
Each idea will be presented on the last day of the summit, and the students with the best idea will get recognized nationally.