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H.S. students voice concerns and ideas they believe can help improve their neighborhoods to Mayor Sly James

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Mayor Sly James usually visits schools to read to kids, but on Monday he instead listened in an effort to improve education.

The town hall meeting with Mayor James wrapped up just before noon  at Central Academy of Excellence.

About 100 high school students took part in the question and answer session.

They learned more about the mayor's childhood -- what it was like to grow up on the east side of the city in the 60s. They also had a chance to voice their concerns and present ideas that they believe can help improve their neighborhoods.

The mayor says knowledge is power, and that it is important to have town hall meetings such as this one to know what today's students are dealing with.

"It's an older group of kids and they have different life experiences, and I'm sure they're curious about how that intersects with government," Mayor James said. "I think it's important for us to listen to what's on their minds so that we have a better sense."

The students prepared for the meeting by using the library's online educational program called "Amplifying Civic Voice."

"These are the kids who are going to be running things in 20 to 30 years," Mayor James said. "So we're trying to build the city for them. So it makes sense for us to engage them at  the earliest opportunity."