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Student Voices Heard in Washington DC – Operation Bee “Abuzz”

It is time for the 2018 SETDA’s Student Voice Award Nominations. SETDA Members have the opportunity to nominate a school or district for the change to win a trip to Washington, DC and participate in SETDA’s annual Leadership Summit. If you know of a fantastic school or district that is well deserving of this award for innovative, digital learning opportunities, contact your state’s SETDA Member or email Christine Fox. Below is a guest blog post, providing a summary of the award, presentation and time in Washington, DC from the student perspective.

ATT Logo2018 Underwriting:Thank you to AT&T Aspire for underwriting the Student Voices 2018.


This guest blog post was provided by the 2017 Student Voices winners representing Mountain Heights Academy in Utah including Donna Trane, Kyana Trane, Kate Larson and Emma Davis.

Our Operation Bee team from Mountain Heights Academy, headed to the country’s capital on a crisp October morning in 2017. Two of us hadn’t been on a plane before and we were slightly terrified, but mostly excited. “It was quite the experience! I never thought I would be flying on a plane to Washington DC, but I did and it was amazing. I had never flown before but that made it even more fun!” shared Donna Trane.

The night before our presentation, we got a little nervous so we spent a couple of hours prepping and going over our parts with our teachers. The next day Donna remembers getting to the Gaylord Hotel and thinking, “Oh, boy!” She was blown away by the beauty of the convention center.

We got to hear some really interesting panelists talk about innovation, technology, and rural education. Two of us live in rural Utah so this was super interesting and we have definitely benefited from online education! Right before our presentation we starting handing out our lab manuals and seed packets for Operation Bee which made us a lot less nervous. Kate Larson noted, “The audience was so encouraging! It was fun to get them engaged by walking around and passing out our bags and project manuals. I still can’t get over the fact that we all did that!” The actual presentation was fantastic and we just forgot to be nervous because it was so much fun.

Emma decided, “I definitely became more confident presenting in front of a big crowd.” Donna shared that, “the best experience I had was being able to present with my team and represent my amazing school. Thank you so much SETDA for the wonderful experiences and possibilities you gave us.”

We spent a couple of days seeing all of the amazing things DC has to offer, like the Smithsonian Museums, Ford’s Theater, all the monuments, and the Capitol where we met with Congresswoman Mia Love who told us we have the obligation, not just the option, of changing the world.

Emma Davis concluded, “It was such an amazing experience! I’d been to DC before, but I got to see more of the monuments and museums and that gave me ideas on what career to choose when I get older.” Kyana Trane stated, “If you guys told me a year ago that I was going to D.C. I don’t think I would have believed you. Standing in historic places and learning more about our country was amazing, and I would hands down love to come back to learn and see more.”

Donna summed up the experience nicely, “Being able to present about Mountain Heights Academy was an amazing privilege, and it was great to learn about the many things going on to improve student learning.” We all agree with Kate, “I will never forget my time spent there.”

Thank you SETDA for this life-changing experience. We highly recommend it for all students interested in using technology to improve education and change the world.

View the Mountain Heights Academy Student Voices presentation here.

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