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Why This Project for the Leadership Class and Leadership Program?
The Sonya Project is a key component of both the leadership class and program. Students are not working with their reading partners just to help them improve their skills—as important as that is. Improving these skills will actually help to prepare them to become productive and thoughtful citizens.

To imagine that the “people” (especially as that concept expanded across our history) have the right to rule has been a truly radical assertion at every step. From the beginning and continuing even to today, we have debated who can qualify to be included in the “people.” At times, we have excluded many among us — persons who owned no property or who practiced different religions, for example. It was truly revolutionary to add them, as well as women and persons of color, to our electorate.

The reading partnerships we have formed seek to live up to Thomas Jefferson’s charge to us all to protect the rights of the people as well as to meet the needs of a government based on their will by making education a priority when he asserted

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.

The Sonya Project, and the leadership program, take education of the people as their charge.
For more information about the Sonya Project, please contact Katie Brunk at 217.245.3571 or

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