During the 016 SETDA Leadership Summit, we had the priveldge of presenting during the Student Voices Luncheon. We were so thankful to have such a wonderful experience being the three young ambassadors from New Jersey Northfield Community Middle School going to Washington D.C, It was an incredible and a life changing experience! The opportunity allowed us to meet a numerous of STEAM educators and innovators, showing us what we can accomplish as we grow up.
We were lucky to have a team of such wonderful fellow students to help us throughout the process of getting everything ready for our presentation.Our self-appointed team was made up of people we were comfortable working with and everyone played a specific role to support the development of an informational video about our school and prepare our presentation. Working with a team made the job easier and less awkward to complete the project plus, it was a lot more fun and helped make the experience more memorable. Although some people might work better at a quiet desk in silence, we chose to take a different route which involved laughing, cracking jokes, and enjoying our voice in the school.
The event itself was nerve-wracking at first, watching hundreds of people file into the ball room just to see us talk about our school. We were dressed well, rehearsed and waiting with microphones. We remember how professional and important each of us felt. We looked around the room, and could tell each and every individual had a busy schedule, and somewhere to be. We thought about how that day, we were those people too – with an important appointment to present.
First, we spoke about ourselves, about our lives and about who we are. That calmed the nerves of the three of us before we began the presentation on our school learning experiences. When we finally started talking about our extraordinary school, something we have waited so long to do. The words flowed out of our mouths, it is easy to present something you are passionate about. We were able to share examples of our hands on 3-D printing projects including a prosthetic hand and our innovative learning spaces in the hallways and classrooms. Plus, we shared how we have our own student lead sessions like “unconferences” as part of our school day. The leaders asked questions about our teachers and principal and our plans for the future. Everyone was really paying attention and enjoyed the event.
Being able to make the most of our lives and SETDA adventure was our priority. After nailing our presentation, we were thrilled to take a tour around Capitol Hill. Seeing all of the powerful businessmen and women reminded us how lucky we are to have a voice in our community and school. Having this chance to learn about STEAM, communication, government and entrepreneurship was really enthralling. Meeting these fantastic role models inspired all of us in different ways. This responsibility has improved our: confidence, voice, personality, and our overall well being. Honestly, this experience changed our lives forever.
If you have students that can get the chance to participate in this program and share the impact that digital learning has on their education and lives you should make sure they are nominated for 2017.
~ Rebecca Brown, Giselle Obergfell, Aryan Preetom
Northfield Community Middle School Class of 2017
2017 Nominations: Nominations for the 2017 Student Voices Award will open in April. SETDA members and partners have the opportunity to nominate a school or district for this prestigious award. Winners receive a scholarship to Washington D.C. both to present and participate in the Leadership Summit and to tour D.C. Contact Christine Fox with questions.
Underwriting Opportunity: If you are interested in supporting the 2017 Student Voices Winners contact Missy Greene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-715-6636 ext. 703. Support includes 9 months of engagement with SETDA leaders.