JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Students in a class at Lee High School spent Friday doing something most teenagers don't.
They called it a 'shout out' and would say something nice about one of their classmates out loud in front of everyone else.
Shout outs on Friday celebrated a meeting that happened last week between students and community leaders being honest about crime and violence not only at Lee but around the city.
"When we came together and started telling our stories, we became like a family," said student Christopher Wright.
The family of students managed to circle up, invite neighbors in, and talk about how to get better.
"As they were sharing, they were realizing there were so many connections, and overlaps with topics. The violence, the loss, incarceration," said teacher Amy Donofrio.
The class invited prosecutors, judges, cops and churches to not just share what they know but learn from somebody else. For example, of the 15 people in the upperclassman leadership group, 10 had personally witnessed someone being shot.
"When I say it's not shocking to me, it's because when you're a teacher of a class where it's focused on, personal issues and sharing your story, you hear the same things so many times you can't even believe it," Donofrio said.
The program has been so successful, students went to Washingston, D.C. earlier this year to share with leaders at the Department of Justice.
"Everybody told their stories and shared their experiences and we had a lot of solutions we came to and hope to bring them home," Dequan Jackson, a junior, said.
Think of D.C. as a dry run for the circle-up that happened last week in Jacksonville.
"We had the city leaders listening this time," Jackson said. "It was great. They were actually listening to what we had to say."