Friday, December 9, 2016

Mound Talks and Students Own Their Future

Today's post is from 7th grade language arts teacher Julie Thomas

The Mound Talks event will easily be one of the highlights of my career. In order to understand why, let me provide you with some history. Last year, students in my 7th grade class took on the challenge of writing a TED Talk. Students worked vigorously for weeks writing and rehearsing their talk. I was astounded by the end product and was highly impressed with what my students had to share. Students presented on topics ranging from mental illnesses to sports injuries to the impact of music. This assignment brought a heightened awareness of the need to provide students with a platform to share their big ideas.

Eager to make this assignment bigger than just a 7th grade assignment, I began discussing how we could make this a reality with Sue Simonson, Toby Robinson, and Pam Tremblay. Over time, it developed into a pitch to DECA students to use as their project this year. Abby Wharram, Andrew LaFortune, and Katelyn Wagner were gracious enough to take it on. Over the last few months, we experienced some highs and lows with the planning process, but December 4th came in no time!

Mound Talks was the event of the season! The stage was set with twinkling lights. Large, bold letters designed by Andrew and the woodshop classes shined under spotlights. Cupcakes, cookies, and a popcorn bar awaited audience members in The Commons. The eager and brave speakers were Katie Clarke, Noah Brammer, Stephanie Anderson, Josh Seeley, Avery Finck, Grace Hanson, Josh Nkhata, Maya Jable, Zach Riffle, Avery Robbins, Anders Erdahl, Izzy Embery-Braun, and Tiffany Nguyen.

Each speaker delivered a unique and powerful message. Audience members learned about subjects such as financial abstraction, gender inequality, learning from your past, and reasons to be thankful. The speakers, although nervous, exuded confidence and captivated the audience. I am proud of these students for mustering up the courage to present and am in awe of their ability to effectively communicate such big ideas.

It was a true pleasure to participate in the planning of this event. Thank you to the sponsors for their generosity and to Westonka DECA for hosting the event. I look forward to the next Mound Talks event!

DECA team & Mound Talks Presentors

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