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Local kids give advice to the nation’s next president

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By Angye Morrison

With just a few days remaining before thehistoric inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, we talked with third and fourth grade students at Havana and Gretna elementary schools to find out what advice they might have for our country’s new president.

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Fourth grade students in Blossie McCloud’s class at Gretna Elementary School had strong ideas about what they would say to Obama, and their concerns ranged from making sure homeless animals have homes to making sure people who don’t have transportation are provided for to providing housing for the homeless and feeding the hungry.

Here’s their advice for our new president:

• “Get the poor off the streets because they deserve better.”

--Miguel Forehand

• “I would ask President-elect Barack Obama to fix the economy and help get people off welfare and get better jobs.”

--Joana Jackson

• “I think he should help the homeless get a home, and help the (Hurricane) Katrina victims and help them rebuild their homes.”

--Tracy Jackson

• “We need more books for schools.”

--Daquan Wells

• “I would like to see the president get people from poor to rich, and get people healthy.”

--Vanessa Cartajena

• “I would tell President-elect Obama to give more money to working teachers. And I would tell him to get nobody to take drugs.”

--Kaylee Castro

• “I would ask President-elect Barack Obama to bring our troops back from Baghdad.”

--David Sailor

• “I would ask himto get people drug-free in this country.”

--Estrella Romulo

• “I would ask Mr. Obama to feed the hungry.”

--Ishmael Kelly

• “I would ask the president to stop the war.”

--Myesha Davis

• “I would tell President-elect Obama to stop sending people to Iraq because there are too many kids who are losing their parents.”

--Tatianna Young

• “I want the president to drop gas prices.”

--Tericca Daniels

• “My advice to the President-elect is to get jobs back.”

--Tyree Presha

• “I would ask the president to get health insurance for everyone.”

--Keyida Thompson

McCloud also had strong words for Obama.

“I would say we need more funds in education, because our children are being neglected. Without support for education, especially secondary education, we will lose our valuable future workforce – our teachers, administrators, doctors, lawyers, etc.” she said.

At Havana Elementary School, students in the fifth grade class of Mis’Shaylanqua Smith also had a lot to say. Those students showed a lot of concern over gas prices, health care costs and education issues.

• “I would like to start off with gas and the price of the gas. Gas is now becoming very high, even for a gallon. I think that gas should be about one dollar, in my opinion. I think that economy is most important for this nation.”

--Armoni Paul

• “Please, please, please lower gas prices. Every time I turn my back my mom and dad are taling about gas. My dad said that gas is getting too high for one gallon. He needs some money for gas. He misses his doctor’s appointment because he spent his money on gas. So can you please lower gas prices?”

--Kesly Ward

• “Havana Elementary is almost a perfect school. We are three points away from an ‘A’. We are a ‘B’ school, but our school needs work. Could you change these things, not only at Havana Elementary, but at other Gadsden County public schools?”

--Asiayana Cerew

• “My advice to the president is to help bring the economy back up and help people who have lost their jobs.”

--Cassandra Hayes

• “Even though the economy is bad, we have a great principal and superintendent. We have to wear uniforms. I would like for that to stop. We have insects like you have never seen.”

--Shankeria Caldwell

• “My advice to the new president is education, because education is the way to life. Without education, we wouldn’t have good paying jobs. Without a college degree, people would have to suffer and be homeless without a job, car and home.”

--Rochonna Shaw

• “My advice is to encourage the new president, because I believe he is going to lower gas prices, education and save our economy.”

--Tomontrez Hannah

• “Save our fossil fuels, so we can use gas. Tell people they can ride a bike to the store and other places. For health care, we can donate money for the cure for cancer and other deadly viruses.”

--Gary McPherson

• “I want to tell you to stop the war. I hate seeing people die. I also want to tell you to stop drugs coming and going from the state. All guns and weapons should be gone. I want to tell you to make rules to make this world a better place.”

-Juan Quezada

• “I think the new president should first stop the recession, because this world could come to an end. Gas at almost $5 is too much. It’s gotten so bad that food is even going up. You need to stop people from taking medical insurance away from people, because really sick people can’t pay and they can’t get help for their illness. Also, there are home foreclosures everywhere and people are soon going to be living on the streets. We also need to stop the war, because they might attack the United States again. We also need jobs. Also, think about the kids. They must be educated. ”

--Khalik Robinson

• “I would talk to the president about education, about lowering end-of-the-year field trip prices and making it easier for our teachers and principals to buy books for us.”

--Brandon O’Neal

• “Make some of the companies stop throwing chemicals in the seas, lakes, ponds and oceans. This harms the animals and the environment, and us, too.”

--Jessy Guerrero

• “I would tell him to lower the tax rates. Next, I would tell him to stop the uniforms (they stink). Finally, I would tell him that us kids need four days out each week instead of two, because we need more time with our parents. And also, please stop all the fussing and fighting in this world, because it is making this world a black hole with all the killing in the world.”

--Ephraim Serrant

• “I want to know if you can make people’s lives easier, like the people on the street or the orphans. Help them so they will have lives like you and me.”

--Francisco Tejado

• “I would ask the president to help people in Africa. Give them more food, water and school and shelter. And change my school by taking away the uniforms and stop putting too much work on the kids. Also, make better jobs in the USA and pay more on the job.”

--Shelia Bunion

• “I would ask the president to help us cut out the FCAT because millions of people fail every year because of FCAT. At least let it not count as a grade.”

--Shaquonda Wright

• “The obesity rate is rising and causing health problems and it is because communities don’t have gyms. My advice would be to start funding physical organizations because we are in a recession and obese people will buy junk food and make poor decisions. ”

--Richard Hightower

• “My advice is to give children the right to vote.”

--Chandon Moore

• “Obama, listen up and listen good. You should work on better health care, economy and better education. Many people are worried about their money. Some people even think money makes the world spin. People want their money’s worth. Please support these things.”

--Makari Woodard

Smith also expressed her advice for Obama, which included recommending he stay focused, listen to and accept the advice of others, be diligent about making final decisions and stand up for his opinions and values, as well as maintain the character he displayed during the campaign.

Two standout letters written by students were as follows:

Dear Mr. Barack Obama:

My advice to you for being a good president is please do your best to make sure kids have an education. Some kids are struggling to learn. Some kids also don’t have an education, so all the kids around the nation should get an eduation, and some are depending on you. So please do the best you can do to get kids in school.

Also the economy. You could get it to be a healthy an secure place so people won’t get sick over the economy.

And last, but not least, health care. People need much health care, so when they’re sick they can go to the hospital or get medicine and get better before you know it.

So please, make all my wishes and desires of getting kids to go to school, getting a healthy economy, and getting health care come true.

--Mercedes Gilyard

Dear Barack Obama:

My advice for what I want you to do as president is to lower health care prices, mortgage rates and try to stop the war, and to build more schools, and build low price cars.

It is very important to lower health care prices because as citizens of the United States, we should not have to pay almost $1,000 a month for our health care. America is struggling. My parents are struggling. My dad is in the hospital and once he gets out he is going to have to pay $2,000.

It is important to lower mortgage rates because many Americans are losing their homes because they are piled in mortgage debt.

It is also important to stop the war. The war has been going on for years, and millions of Americans are dying in the war each year.

We need more schools because some schools are falling down to the ground.

And we should be able to buy low price cars because we cannot afford high priced cars.

--Dalvin Henderson