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Dayonna Carson and Danae Wnuk Accepted Into Inaugural ‘Chattanooga As Text’ Program

DAYONNA CARSON AND DANAE WNUK ACCEPTED INTO THE INAGURAL CHATTANOOGA AS TEXT PROGRAM --  The CAT girls pose for a photo at the Final Pitch Presentation.

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DAYONNA CARSON AND DANAE WNUK ACCEPTED INTO THE INAGURAL CHATTANOOGA AS TEXT PROGRAM -- The CAT girls pose for a photo at the Final Pitch Presentation.

Cassandra Castillo, Staff Writer

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Whenever you hear the word text you usually think of a book, not a city. The city of Chattanooga has a lot to offer, from murals on abandoned buildings to statues on the side of the street.

However, there’s always room for improvement as seen by Dr. Autumn Graves, founder of Chattanooga As Text. This organization, the first of its kind, was created for placemaking. Placemaking is looking at a place with the idea of reinventing or improving for the need of others.

“The reason why it’s Chattanooga as Text, is because we took pictures of different areas of the city and we basically had to describe them,” projected Dayonna Carson, a sophomore at Central, “We would look at our surroundings of statues and other artwork and we would try and think, ‘How does this define us?’ ‘What is our story?’ or ‘How does that make us different from other people?'”

Girls from different high schools across Chattanooga were chosen for the challenge of reinventing their city. During the summer, they toured Chattanooga in search of potential improvements.

The 12 girls were separated into groups of four, where they came up with a problem that needed to be solved which could benefit the community. Danae Wnuk, a sophomore at Central, and her group came up with the problem of mental illness, predominantly in teens.

“We wanted to create a film festival that partnered with Chattanooga’s film festival. It could be an annual thing , where we could ask people to submit a film each year. That way we can have a different theme every year,” explained Wnuk, “We would spread the word through schools because we want students to be the ones that work on those films.”

Dayonna Carson considered the under-representation of arts in schools.

“Our group wanted to tackle the under-representation of art in schools, so we planned to have a travelling art bus that allows kids to understand the different types of art techniques,” expressed Carson.

Her team prevailed at the final pitch, in front of the many stake holders that could make these ideas into reality.

Another group came up with the issue of homelessness, that primarily focused on veterans. They thought about creating gardens in people’s homes where the homeless could select what they wanted or needed. They could potentially have the option of selling it or keeping the produce for themselves.

Mrs. Hooper, the gifted teacher at Central, announced that there would be an event the girls could attend, which allowed them to get an iPad and something they could attend that would look good on their résumé. She added that it would be to learn many skills.

“I didn’t know what it was, well I had and idea of it, but I wanted to learn more. I wanted to know what goes through people’s head’s. There’s lots of places that need to be revamped that are useless now. I wanted to improve these places myself because i’m very disappointed on how they look,” conveyed Carson.

There were many activities in which they participated in. Some included three yoga sessions, an escape room adventure, camping, and meeting with the mayor, where they asked Mr. Andy Berke questions about the city.

“It was interesting and I learned a lot about what they taught. I also gained many skills in placemaking and entrepreneurship,” mentioned Wnuk.

“For me, it was very enlightening and fun. I got to learn a lot more about what goes into making a business. I used to think that all businesses were out for our money,” added Carson.

They both learned to make connections along with being more presentable. They assimilated the process of creating a business and making it successful.

“You need to ask the people, the community, what they want to see change,” acknowledged Carson.

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The student news site of Chattanooga Central High School
Dayonna Carson and Danae Wnuk Accepted Into Inaugural ‘Chattanooga As Text’ Program