I went to a few conferences last year and kept hearing the same message from quite a few keynote presenters about the characteristics of the Millenials, or nextgen, or whatever other catchy name you want to call the current crop of students we are teaching. I kept hearing reference to the me me me generation, the kids who are self centred and want it all now. At a conference I presented at I actually showed a digital story our students had created and asked the audience to consider what I view as the skewed impression people are generating about kids today. The work these students had created was considered, empathic and brought some of the audience to tears. Not the work of students focused on themselves only.
What’s brought me to this is an event I attended tonight. Our school has links with the Oak Tree Foundation, founded by a young man by the name of Hugh Evans. He’s a pretty amazing guy and a gifted speaker. The following is from the Oak Tree site;
“Hugh’s passion for helping others began when he was 12 and became involved in World Vision’s 40-Hour Famine. At age 14, a sponsored trip to the Philippines to see World Vision’s work first hand impacted Hugh’s life immensely. Sleeping in a slum, Hugh witnessed an entire community built around a garbage dump and saw children scavenging and dying around him. It was a turning point in his life. A year in South Africa in 2003 inspired him to found The Oak Tree Foundation. As a result of his outstanding work and dedication, Hugh was awarded Young Australian of the Year 2004. He has also been awarded one of twelve Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) for 2004.”
Tonight, students from our school hosted ‘Hands Together: A Comedy Gala’, at our local Arts Centre. It was an event orgainised entirely by students to raise what they hoped would be $10,000 to support the Kwabazothini school of South Africa, part of Oak Tree’s Schools for Schools program. By the crowd turn up I’d say they have come close to the mark. It was an inspiring evening that reinforces my belief that we have outstanding young people in our schools today who have a social conscience and the ability to make change in the world. I felt proud to be a member of our school community and applaud the students who worked tirelessly over the last few months with a focus on the greater good.