‘Out of every challenge there is an opportunity.’
That was the message echoed when our Young Leaders met with a group of academics visiting the GFM from America.
Young Leaders from across Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 met with Dr. Nathern Okilwa, Professor and Associate Dean Terah Chambers, Professor Gerardo Lopez, Dr. Monica Byrne-Jimenez, Professor Pedro Reyes, Ryan Beasley, Professor Shelby Cosner, Professor David DeMatthews, and the Trust’s CEO Ian Potter at the Gosport Community Hub for an afternoon of debate, challenge and empowerment.
Conversation topics included politics, societal stereotypes, differences in school tests, the need to support special education needs and the power that young people have to make change.
Year 9 student, Olly, said: “Our group discussed Trust in classrooms and how because we weren’t in school during lockdown, social skills were distant. We didn’t get the experiences we could have and it was nerve-racking to return to school environments and it has been hard to regain trust.”
The feeling in the room was one of connection. It was a real opportunity to rethink what ‘together’ means.
The American visitors commented: “Today has been invaluable from a personal and professional perspective to spend time with young people, who are our future, it is humbling. I am grateful for the time spent chatting and just being human beings together.
“There is importance in intentionally spending time on relationship building. To build connections to provide a stronger foundation.”
The academics advise our young leaders to explore, find their passion and take action.
We would like to thank them for their visit, it has truly inspired our students.
Dr. Nathern Okilwa, University of Texas at San Antonio
Professor and Associate Dean for DEI, Terah Chambers, Michigan State University
Professor Gerardo Lopez, Michigan State University
Dr. Monica Byrne-Jimenez, Executive Director, UCEA
Ashbel Smith, Professor of Education Leadership & Policy, Pedro Reyes, University of Texas at Austin
Ryan Beasley, Executive Officer, BELMAS
Professor and Center Director, Shelby Cosner, University of Illinois at Chicago
UCEA President and Associate Professor, David DeMatthews, University of Texas at Austin