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