FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                            Date: May 12, 2003

        Contact: Peggy Dunn, 206-7399


Banquet recognizes participants in UIS’ first Public Policy High School Initiative

                        Note: Banquet is 6:45 – 9 p.m. TONIGHT, May 12.

SPRINGFIELD – A banquet recognizing participants in the first Public Policy High School Initiative, a program of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Center for Governmental Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, will be held from 6:45 to 9 p.m. Monday, May 12, in the Public Affairs Center Restaurant at UIS.

Under the initiative launched this past year, grants of $5,500 were awarded to high schools across the state to identify and then research a public policy issue that affected their own communities.

With grant support, students and five-teacher teams explored the relationship between a current, real-world problem and its historical framework, and alternative options for its resolution. During the course of their projects, students and teachers gained hands-on experience in a number of areas including civics, government, technology, and lobbying skills.

The schools worked with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Center for Governmental Studies staff to design projects that were shared electronically via the Internet. By creating homepages linked through the center’s homepage, teachers and students were able to transmit

their work as it progressed and share it with teachers and students at other participating schools. Students served as researchers, analyzers, evaluators, developers of knowledge, and communicators during the entire process.

The banquet on Monday is part of a two-day conference on the UIS campus allowing the


teams to meet face-to-face to share experiences and present results. The banquet will feature remarks from Rich Brauer, state representative from the 100th district, and Mel Allison, grant facilitator from Riverton High School, as well as demonstrations of the various projects.

Participating high schools, their team leaders, and topics are: Anna-Jonesboro (John Murray), “The Vanishing Great Generation: Captured for the Future”; Benton (Larry Hancock), “Would a Railroad Over/Underpass Save Our Lives?”; Decatur Eisenhower (Mike Rusk), “Lincoln’s Macon County”; Heyworth (Donna Knapp), “Tiff: Helping or Hurting Small Communities?”; Morris (Greg Eaton), “Voting: Where We Are and Where We are Going – The Chad vs. the Scranton”; Ottawa Township (Craig Mueller), “Schools Facing Extinction: The Empty Pocket Project”; Pleasant Plains (Mike Ward), “School Funding: An Exercise in Reform”; Riverton (Kevin Robbins), “Riverton Park Project”; Salem (Diane Eller), “Link-On Education: A Look at Lincoln’s Education Funding and the Relation to 21st Century Educational Challenges”; Springfield Southeast (Andrea Usinger), “A Voter Query”; Vienna (Jonathan Green), “Consolidation for Better Education”; and Webber Township (Sandy Wilson), “Creating the Bluford Community Center.”

All secondary schools in Illinois are eligible to apply for a Public Policy Initiative Research Grant for 2003-2004. Information can be found online at, or by contacting project coordinator Peggy Dunn at (217) 206-7399.

Summaries of current projects are available online at