State Rep. Chris Rabb (top, left) visits with Jenks students who helped put on the school’s Day of the Arts, a school-wide event where students from all grades showcased their various drawings, paintings, musical performances and more. (Photo by Brendan Sample)

by Brendan Sample

State Rep. Chris Rabb, of the 200th Legislative District, visited J.S. Jenks Academy for the Arts and Sciences on May 29 to congratulate a group of fourth grade students who won his Earth Day video contest. In addition, Rabb also spoke to four eighth grade students who volunteered at a paper shredding event that he had sponsored several weeks ago.

The three students who won the Earth Day contest had put together a video about pollution and its harmful effects on Earth. Rabb visited the fourth grade science classroom to watch the video and speak to the students. After congratulating them for their efforts, he spoke about how he planned to show the video to his fellow representatives in Harrisburg in a continued effort to help the environment and “play well with others.”

He encouraged the students to continue making efforts like this to stay involved, as they can still make an impact even at a young age.

“The next big idea could come from this classroom,” Rabb said.

One group of students that is already working toward making an impact in the community is the eighth graders that helped with Rabb’s shredding event. The students that were involved are Erin Muldrow, Jah-lore Duquesne, Kaleb Deadrick and Saud Salahuddin, the latter three of which also helped to form Jenks’ “What’s Your 17?” initiative in response to the Parkland shooting.

Rep. Chris Rabb (center) with winners of an Earth Day video contest he had sponsored. (Photo by Brendan Sample)

The event was meant to help people in the neighborhood who needed papers shredded but do not have access to a shredder of their own. The students helped collect papers from residents who brought them to the event to be shredded. Their involvement was part of “What’s Your 17?,” which involves coming up with 17 different ways for each participating student to improve his or her community.

Rabb presented each student with a certificate of appreciation meant to commemorate their efforts. Due to the initiative’s connection to the Parkland shooting, he spoke to them about his continued efforts to draft a bill in Harrisburg that would aim to curb gun violence in Pennsylvania. Rabb also expressed his hope that they will continue to remain involved in local activism and encouraged them to stay connected in the future.

Rabb’s visit took place during Jenks’ Day of the Arts, which featured students showcasing their drawings, paintings and musical performances