How an interstate impacted education


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– There are hundreds of stories about the west side and the kind of place it used to be, told by former neighbors teachers and students.

“It was rich,” former resident Barbara Davis said. “I don’t mean in money. It was rich in families, friendship. And it was just not your family; everybody there had a piece of bringing you up.”

Members of the Pave the Way project talked to dozens of people whose lives were impacted by the construction of I-496. And one things that kept coming up is how it changed school experiences for hundreds of students

“Education is such an important part of any society,” project coordinator Greta McHaney-Trice said, “and when you have educational opportunities for children and families, anything that happens impacts that.”

That impact looked like students taking buses to schools far away from their neighborhoods, losing the businesses they visited on weekends and learning to adjust to new environments with teachers to guide them every step of the way.

“I found that if you’re the right teacher and you’re the right person to be in Lansing, and you love Lansing and you want to be in a place that’s diverse like Lansing, you find a way to bring the kids together,” school district superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul said.

There’s no going back to the way things were, but members of this community say these memories are a perfect example of what makes Lansing great.

“It just let everybody see that this is Lansing, and it’s still gonna be Lansing even though we are divided,” Davis said. “We’re gonna come together again like we did today.”

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