Candace Joyner and a teacher spent the last seven months planning a festival set for this weekend to combat poverty. They competed against students from all across the country to host this festival.
“Well, I’m your typical overachiever. I love doing everything and anything,” Joyner said.
While Joyner may describe herself as a typical student, her most recent journey is far from normal.
“I didn’t think I would be selected. I didn’t even think I’d be a semi-finalist,” Joyner said.
Joyner alongside teacher Maria Bonaventure won a nationwide ideas festival contest.
“The idea was to inspire a lot of high school students to identify issues in their communities and do something about it,” Bonaventure said.
That means they get to host an ideas festival. During the festival, people will get to listen to speakers and get resources from local nonprofits. The two planned the poverty symposium with the goal of bringing awareness to the issue of rural poverty. That issue hits home in Pleasant Hill.
“I saw how much of a struggle it is for them to get through school. It really hit home for me because these were my friends, my peers, part of my family here at Pleasant Hill,” Joyner said.
“Personally I notice it every day. I notice it with the students I work with, my relationships with people’s families. There’s just a culture of poverty that I think is under addressed,” Bonaventure said.
The team is hoping to make an impact in the community through the festival.
Both Joyner and Bonaventure plan on making this an annual festival. Next year Joyner will attend the University of Oregon on a full-ride scholarship.