Valley leaders celebrate back-to-school in Youngstown - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley leaders celebrate back-to-school in Youngstown

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Youngstown City Schools prepare for the new year with a back-to-school kick-off.

The celebration on Saturday may have looked like all fun and games but for many in the community it was part of a bigger effort.

Like many urban districts, Youngstown City Schools has it's challenges. Parents can't always provide the school supplies their children need and the kids can be swayed away from their education.

"We found that most kids make their decisions, life changing, altering decisions at about 5th grade," said Pastor Al Yanno  with Now Youngstown. "So we've got to get them early, before they get sucked into the gangs and the negativity that tends to draw them in in our city."

That's why the kick-off party not only gave students the back-to-school gear they needed, but encouragement that someone cares.

In attendance was recently appointed Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel, who told the kids he has high expectations.

"I challenged them today, to hold themselves to a high standard and hopefully one day they can be on campus at Youngstown State," said Tressel.

Also, in attendance was State Senator Joe Schiavoni with expectations for the district. He hand-delivered a letter to the superintendent, encouraging the school to continue it's efforts to meet higher standards.

"It's a difficult situation. There are difficulties with open enrollment, there's difficulties with student living for vouchers, there's difficulties of students leaving for charter schools, so this school and this population is a very at risk population but everybody has got to work together," said Schiavoni.

The Superintendent says he and his staff continue to believe that all students can succeed and with the help of the community they hope to make sure students have both the supplies and encouragement they need.
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