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Forsyth County students hope to help bring together divided society with new youth organization
Common Ground
Common Ground's founders, Rajath Nair, Samantha Ponce and Divesh Gupta. Photo courtesy of Nair.

When the Covid-19 pandemic began in the U.S. in 2020, Rajath Nair couldn’t believe how quickly discussions about the disease and precautions divided citizens in Forsyth County and across the nation.

The Alliance Academy for Innovation student knew that if everyone could sit down in a room and truly listen to one another, they could learn and eventually come to an agreement during what became a devastating time for most.

That is when he and two of his friends, Samantha Ponce and Divesh Gupta, came up with the idea to start Common Ground, an organization where high school students can come together and share their honest thoughts and opinions without judgment.

“Everyone stood on different grounds [during the pandemic] … so we wanted to make a ‘common ground,’ where we accept one another and understand where we are coming from,” Nair said.

The three students spent the past two years planning out the organization before finally opening it up to other students this school year. Over the past few months, several others have joined the club hoping to share their worries in a comfortable and peaceful environment.

“When I first joined, it was a fresh change of pace to be able to discuss topics that I personally was passionate about with community members,” member Nick DiCarro said.

The organization meets in south Forsyth every Thursday afternoon, welcoming any current high school students or rising ninth graders interested in talking with peers about their feelings on current events.

While each of the founding members are Alliance Academy students, Nair said the organization is not tied to the school and students from outside of Forsyth are also welcome to join.

For more information, visit Common Ground’s website at

“We must work together to repair the divide that has been made by recent events in our society,” Nair said.