Happy 18th Birthday, Public Achievement!

In honor of Public Achievement's 18th birthday, we thought it would be fitting to visit St. Bernard's School in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the PA youth organizing model was first used (see What is Public Achievement, anyway?). Doing public work in teams, engaging in reflection, and learning how to have an impact remains an important part of the school day for many St. Bernard's students.

This year, one group of 9th graders was particularly concerned about the war in Iraq and returning veterans, especially their close family members who have been deployed to military combat zones. With Public Achievement they had a way to organize other people - and resources - to take action. As the school year winds down, the students are busy leading a drive to collect clothing, sports equipment and school supplies to send to their peers in Iraq.

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They're also pursuing an idea with students they've met through the University of Minnesota's Veterans Transition Center for a Veterans Day event at St. Bernard's next fall, as part of the grassroots Warrior to Citizen Campaign.

Listen to team members Emily Erickson, Zach Dinzeo, Annette Dobihal, Becca Odahlen and Emily Quam talk about their work and what they're learning. Their Public Achievement coaches are Rana Yaghmaian, a student in the University of Minnesota's leadership minor program, and Candy Pagel, a school staff person (pictured above with the students).

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs