YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio’s Attorney General was in town Wednesday afternoon, recognizing the efforts of a group of middle schoolers.

Dave Yost was the guest speaker at a ceremony honoring 10 students from Youngstown City Schools who are finalists in the national “Do the Write Thing” challenge.

The kids each had to write an essay, putting into their own words how violence impacts their lives and how they deal with it.

“Part of our goal, and part of the goal of the program, is not to make it so common where it doesn’t affect them anymore, and I think that’s something that, this gives them the opportunity to… have them talk to adults so we can understand how they feel,” said Youngstown City Schools Superintendent Justin Jennings.

One of the students honored was Rayen Early College Middle School student Kane Pickard, who strives to end violence among young people by leading by example.

Some things I could do to change this world is give inspiration to others, make others think about their actions and start a non-youth violence group spreading love and consideration to other teens and kids. I could start self love camps to resolve some of the problems and make them feel better about themselves and give more confidence to all kids that are willing to give themselves a chance to change the way they act on things,” Pickard wrote.

The Attorney General launched the program in Ohio two years ago. Youngstown is one of five districts in the state that participate in it.

This is Youngstown’s first year of participating in the program.

“Like I always say, sometimes the reason why we don’t fix things is because we don’t listen to the right people. So they’re the ones that are affected by it the most, and I think that’s what’s really going to help us,” Jennings said.

The Youngstown program received 120 submissions from seventh- and eighth-grade students at Chaney Middle School, East Middle School and Rayen Early College Middle School. The entries were judged by community members and business leaders, and the top 10 stories will be published as a booklet and shared across the state to bring greater attention to the problem of violence.

Wednesday’s award ceremony was held at Cassese’s MVR.

Pickard and Madison Keys will also join six students from other districts as Ohio’s ambassadors to the “Do the Write Thing” conference in July in Washington, D.C.

Chelsea Simeon contributed to this report.