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@ZionWard360 participates in #AfAmEdChat
@ZionWard360 participates in #AfAmEdChat

Twitter has acted as an agent of foreign and domestic revolutions, announced earthquakes before they hit, and given non-celebrities direct access to the famous. But could it also be the vehicle for meaningful conversations, 140 characters at a time, about opportunity gaps in education?

Jason Lee eighth-grader Zion Ward became part of a national effort last November to try to do just that. Zion was the only K-12 student formally invited to join educational advocates and leaders in a Twitter roundtable hosted by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (WHIEEAA). The Twitter chat, titled “The Opportunity Gap—Facts, Myths and Possibilities in Black Academic Excellence,” also included Deena Pierott, founder of iUrban Teen Tech, of which Zion is a member. The program works to increase real-world exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for nontraditional STEM students, including girls and African-American and Latino male youths.

During the Twitter chat, Zion weighed in on subjects such as President Obama’s goal to raise America’s population of college graduates (“I think it’s a good idea—looking forward to it”); supporting families (“Communication—if you don’t know, then you can’t learn and you can’t grow”); closing literacy gaps (“More extracurricular activities for families…tutoring, parenting”); and making college more affordable (“Lower interest rates of student loans”).

When asked what he liked about his school, he tweeted, “I love how the teachers interact with students, hands-on activities, learning by doing.

“Gateway to Technology is one of my favorite classes involving hands-on activities to help me learn,” added Zion, who is considering a career in engineering.

“I think Zion is going to be a future leader in the community—across the country,” said Pierott.

He also earned an endorsement from WHIEEAA Executive Director David Johns.

“Shout-out to @ZionWard360. My new favorite student,” tweeted Johns.

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