Students Offer Ideas for Nashville

MNPS Students Win Big with Suggestions for Making Nashville a Better Place
Posted on 10/02/2023
drawing from Kamillia Hellweg

drawing by student

Art by Kamillia Hellweg

MNPS students led the way in the first “Show Us YOUR Nashville” contest for youth ages 8 to 18 to present their ideas for making the city a better place.

Kamillia Hellweg, a fourth grader at Napier Elementary School, won first place in the 8 to 12 age group category, while Stella Graham, an eighth grader at J.T. Moore Middle, won first place in the 13 to 18 age group.

Kamillia and Stella (whose work is pictured here) each received $1,000 and were recognized at the Artville public art festival Saturday. Art by Stella

Two more MNPS students, SJ Clayton, a senior at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School, and Tatiyanna Farmer, an eighth grader at West End Middle, tied for third place in the 13 to 18 age category and split a $500 prize.

“Show Us YOUR Nashville,” which was created by Kidizenship and co-hosted by Vanderbilt University’s Project on Unity and American Democracy, gave Nashville’s young people an opportunity to show how they would improve the city through their artwork and brief essays. Students from across the city sent in approximately 250 ideas.

Kamillia said she would provide more options for people in her community in the Napier area, including a community grocery store, a toy store or place where children could play video games, and a playground. These would create healthier food options, more activities for kids, and more job opportunities in the neighborhood, Kamillia wrote.

Stella wrote that she would implement mandatory “mental health/shooter probability screenings for students in grades 6-12.”

“These screenings would find students hurting and help them, preventing many from acting on their pain with violence,” she wrote.

Tatiyanna took up a similar theme, writing that she wants to “live past 13” and that gun control is the solution. SJ wrote about making the city “more accessible to those without a car” through “maintained sidewalks, bike lanes with proper safety barriers, and a bus system that is efficient and reliable.”

MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, State Representative Justin Jones, and singer-songwriter and civic leader Ruby Amanfu served as judges for “Show Us YOUR Nashville.” The last names and schools of the students were not known to the judges when they evaluated the entries.

SJ Clayton

artwork by SJ Clayton












Tatiyanna Farmer

artwork by Tatiyanna


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