They are America's future!

May 16, 2008 by barbara

barbara writes

UPDATE: Please see comment from Kim Farris-Berg who coordinates this wonderful program!


Find more videos like this on Students Speak Out

I’m one of those doofus people who tears up at my grands’ choir and band concerts. There’s something so powerful about being present to a gathering of young people making the proverbial joyful noise. And every time I hear about the things they’re learning and, more importantly doing (experiential learning – booyah!) in school, I am totally blown away.

Most recently, one of my grands prepared an oral and visual presentation about Kent State. She’s 13. She didn’t know, but now she does. And she cares. Read more.

She brought her presentation to a state-wide gathering at a university south of the Twin Cities. Another grand gave a presentation to her peers on why/how school uniforms might mitigate against some of the problems in schools. Not a popular stance, but/and a gutsy one. Still another grand is on the school debate team where the topic was basically this: What is the responsibility of the United States in sub-Saharan regions where water is scarce and often polluted? She had to be prepared to argue both sides of that question. And that's just what's happening in suburbia!

I don’t remember encountering many topics or having conversations about things that truly matter when I was that age. And now there’s an organization called Students Speak Out that is doing marvelous things with kids

Per today’s MinnPost, the group sponsored a video-blogging contest geared to providing a venue for high school students to speak their minds about what’s concerning them. Top issues in this “I Am Minnesota’s Future” contest included immigration, violence in schools and global warming. The video was created by students at North High School in the heart of Minneapolis. It won first place in the group submission category.

According to the MinnPost article:

One of the contest judges, Bill Hanley, executive vice president of Twin Cities Public Television, said video produced by young people is an effective way to get policy makers to listen to youth, who might know more about certain issues, such as school violence or bullying.

"For the more experienced young producers, I hope they will find in the process reinforcement that video is the most powerful communications tool ever invented," Hanley said. "And young people can learn to use it to improve the society that we all share."

The finalists' videos will be broadcasted on YouTube and the Citizens League Facebook Web page, as well as presented at the Citizens League's annual meeting and at the sesquicentennial tent at the Minnesota State Fair.

Winners receive Best Buy gift certificates and a Sony digital camcorder.

Is this cool or what? I try to convince myself I couldn’t have possibly been as shallow as I remember being at the age of these young people. Maybe I was. Maybe we all were? Dunno. But I am totally jazzed by our kids/grandkids. (Warning: incoming cliché.) Slice it, dice it but ignore it at peril. As always, kids are the future of this state and this country. Elementary, my dear Watsonians. The difference in 2008 is that these kids are technically savvy at a level we could not even begin to imagine in the day. (Oh, double cliché.) Add to my Barack Obama and John Edwards list of things that give me hope: our young people. Bless ‘em.

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Comments

paul miller (not verified) | May 17, 2008 - 12:53am

very cool!

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barbara says (not verified) | May 17, 2008 - 8:20am

It is, isn't it?! Redundant, but I'm absolutely gobsmacked by the deep thinking, creativity and technical savvy of our kids and grands (i.e., this generation). And by and large, they're using it for good. Narcissists need not apply.

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Kim Farris-Berg (not verified) | May 22, 2008 - 10:19am

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for the shout out to this project. I wanted to share a bit more about it -- I coordinate it (among others) for the Citizens League.

StudentsSpeakOut.org is an initiative of the Citizens League Minnesota 150th Anniversary Project (MAP 150). MAP 150’s purpose is to find ways of cultivating citizens’ ability to participate in designing public solutions by developing new spaces and roles that respect citizens’ experiences and ideas as relevant to the policy discussion. People affected by the problem should be included in defining it. StudentsSpeakOut.org is a social networking Web site that has been testing a variety of strategies for involving young people as active citizens by meeting them where they are (on the Web, using technology, and in both school-based and outside-of-school learning environments). The Web site was at first Minneapolis-focused, and has now expanded to all of Minnesota and Milwaukee, with potential for further expansion nationally.

It helps so much when people like you acknowledge the student voices! We found that the factor most impt to them-- that they say raises their interest and participation--is that people are listening.

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Anonymous (not verified) | June 24, 2009 - 3:05pm

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