Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

While most high schoolers were working part time jobs or soaking up the sun, some kids in the Rochester City School District were learning more about STEM careers.    

Graduating and incoming seniors had the opportunity to take a new class called City Living this summer.

Smiley Samuel joined the class voluntarily, already interested in becoming a mechanical enginer and working with cars after graduation. They said they learned about the history of Rochester through the course, about the bridges, how the downtown library was built and how the city got its nickname.


New York State is planning to expand opportunities for college courses in some state prisons. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Manhattan D-A Cyrus Vance say $7.3 million will provide college-level education and training for  more than 2,500 prisoners across the state.

The money comes from large bank settlements secured by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. 

Among the programs in this region will be classes at the Albion Correctional facility, provided by Medaille College and Five Points Correctional Facility, with services provided by Cornell University.

A local organization is helping parents get involved in their communities in various ways. It's called the Parent Leadership Training Institute. Trainees have already tackled a number of local subjects, including opening a spray park in the 19th Ward, and working to smooth the process of Urban-Suburban students joining a local district.

We learn what else the organization has planned and how it is growing. In studio:

  • Carolyn Lee-Davis, advisor for the Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute
  • Rosalind Walker, institute alum and mother who lives in Rochester
  • Luva Alvarez, coordinator for the Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute

An international exchange program with big goals is being held in Rochester for the first time. Rochester Global Connections is partnering with Allendale Columbia School to host the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program. It's a cultural immersion experience for high school students from different parts of Iraq, who who learn about leadership development, peace building, and human rights alongside local students.

We talk to the students about what they've learned, and how they hope to build bridges among their communities when they return to Iraq. Our guests:

  • Cecelia Hencke, executive director of Rochester Global Connections
  • Emily Atieh, global engagement scholar at Allendale Columbia School
  • Murtatha "Seyyid" Almehanni, IYLEP participant 
  • Fatimah Saleem, IYLEP participant

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

One recreation center in Rochester went on a field trip to better connect kids to the food they eat.

On a warm summer day, a group of kids from the Humboldt Recreation Center in Rochester hopped on a bus and drove 20 minutes out to the town of Rush, to spend the day learning about farm life and the hard work and processes that go into food production.

Something that co-owner of Stonecrop Farm, where the trip took place, Gregory Hartt believes should happen more.

Here’s a stat that may surprise you. Only 12 percent of youth in Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes are getting daily physical activity. This means the majority of area youth are not getting 60 minutes a day of active time. That’s one of the stats released in a recent report by the Aspen Institute. The findings are being used by the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to improve access to sports, among other things, for area kids. Why this matters to all area residents and what’s being done to address gaps that exist with youth sports and recreational activities on this edition of Need to Know.

Soapbox racing started in the 1930s and in Rochester, there’s a pretty solid fan base among Rochester teens willing to ditch their smartphones, tablets and video games to get outside for a little healthy competition.

WXXI’s Denise Young introduces you to these youngsters and explains why the real thrill of racing is the camaraderie built on the track by these ‘Super Kids’.

Upward Bound

16 local teenagers and Rochester police officers will share the stage Saturday afternoon at the Police and Teen Talent Slam.

The event is hosted by Monroe Community College's Upward Bound program, whose goal is to get first generation low-income students to college.

Gwen Bell, program advisor for Upward Bound says the talent show is supposed to give officers and teenagers the chance to see a different, fun side of each other; and move perceptions away from distrust to acceptance and understanding.

"C.R.A.P" is not the most appealing name for a test, but it is memorable. C.R.A.P. stands for Currency, Reliability/Relevance, Authority, and Purpose/Point of View. With all the talk of fake news, you might think that the test is new, but it was created about a decade ago and now teachers and librarians nationwide are using it to help students identify reliable sources of information. 

Are we raising a generation that is better able to evaluate sources? Or are we in a permanent age of fake news? We answer those questions and learn about the test with our guests:

  • Sarah White, adjunct professor of English at MCC and The College at Brockport
  • Bob Berkman, business outreach librarian at the University of Rochester
  • Jocie Kopfman, teaches the "Rights and Responsibilities" class in The Commons at The Harley School
  • Lars Keulling, academic dean for The Harley School

The Top of the Class series introduces viewers to exceptional high school students working to make a difference in their schools and our community. These are all students who are described by peers and teachers as leaders who don’t seek attention, but rather ways to serve. Meet a young mean who seems to be the epitome of smarts and service – 2017 Webster Schroeder High School graduate Dalton Pumputis.