About Dear Columbus:

On February 20th, 2018, 7th grade students from GEMS met with influential members of the Columbus community at Long Street Studio for a cup of coffee and a conversation. At a time when tensions are prevalent across the country between people of different political parties, races, religion and sexual orientations, it is important to recognize people who are working to make a change. There are people that are willing to work across cultures to listen and support everyone – no matter where they come from.  It’s also important to realize that our young people have a voice in changing the future and can learn so much from leaders working to make changes in our community.

This website is a tribute to people that find passion in serving others. Our 7th grade students have written a short piece to share their conversations with each community member that was interviewed.

Our learning:


For their first field work to explore cultures colliding, the seventh graders made a trip to Columbus Division of Fire Station 18, where they met with local firefighters. The students had the opportunity to hear about the first responders relationship with the public and their experience with differing cultures within our community. The students also were given a tour of the firehouse.

Panel Conversation

Students listened to a conversation between police, firemen, and leaders of the black lives matter movement. Each panelist was able to share their perspectives on the relationships between people of color and police officers. Many of the panelists and students expressed that this day had a major influence on their perspectives of people with different viewpoints.

Roosevelt Coffeehouse / Thiossane/West African Food

The seventh grade spent the day at a local coffeehouse, where they were able to experience West African culture. The students branched out by sampling traditional West African cuisine. Members of the Thiossane Institute performed traditional song and dance, before inviting the students to the stage to dance and play instruments.

Wilberforce University / National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center

We traveled to Wilberforce University, a Historically Black University and the first college to be owned and operated by African Americans. Students explored the University’s historic significance and were given a tour of campus.

After lunch, we made a trip to the nearby National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, where the students found connections between historical and current events in American history. A photography exhibit revealed the stories of Freed Slaves and African American Soldiers and their contributions to our shared histories.

Roosevelt Coffeehouse / Lincoln Theatre

On Tuesday February 20th, the seventh grade went back to Roosevelt Coffeehouse to complete their expert interviews. Students were able to interview three local experts of their choice about how they interact with different cultures and what cultural collisions are important to them. Students created a Dear Columbus photo with their expert to share a message with the Columbus community.