By Alexandra Jennerjahn SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – The city of Syracuse has one of the nation’s highest poverty rates, and according to an article by Syracuse.com, Syracuse City School District is ranked 9th in Upstate NY for worst poverty rates.
Between Onondaga Community College, Le Moyne College and Syracuse University the community has a high number of college graduates each year. Sam Rodgers, former SU football captain and current SU graduate student believes that getting these graduates to commit to Syracuse after graduation could help the economy grow tremendously, but something needs to make them want to stay.
“There needs to be jobs that are attracting them to stay. To make that happen, there has to be companies and businesses developing in Syracuse that would also make people move to Syracuse,” Rodgers said.
The lack of residents and business growth has affected the school district as well, and 44% of city’s children lived in poverty last year.
Rodgers says his involvement with Syracuse University and the city has given him opportunities to visit the schools, and there are ways to help serve.
“There’s opportunity to encourage, inspire and make changes,” Rodgers said.
Sloane Gallagher is a senior at Syracuse University and has spent the past three years as a Literacy Core Tutor for Salem Hyde Elementary School, and according to her, 88% of the students are eligible for the free school meal program.
“I’ll see kids wearing the same things over and over again. Sometimes kids won’t have winter coats, and teachers will have to buy them for them,” Gallagher said.
Over the past three years, Gallagher has seen the impact she can make on the community and the kids, and now she’s considering staying in Syracuse after graduation. She says getting outside of just SU has helped, and she thinks more if more students got off campus and explored the community, they might want to stay too.
“There aren’t that many Syracuse Students that stay and work in the school district or work in Syracuse in general, and that’s definitely not helping the community grow,” Gallagher said.
Recently, Rodgers announced his interest in running as the Republican candidate for New York State Senate. He’d be up against democrat Rachel May. Rodgers believes if he were to be elected into this position, it’d give him the perfect platform to get the community engaged and bring his visions for Syracuse to life.