Following the accident I witnessed a student population come together and work for the greater good and honor the students that lost their lives in the accident. We talk a lot in education about authentic learning and allowing students space to create real world solutions and connect their learning. This situation was real and what this group of students did was move into problem-solving mode to do something that would honor and help the surviving members of these girls families. As they came together, they found a passion, basketball and came up with an idea to hold an event to benefit the families affected by the accident. The accident also took another student's life that attended a local high school, and left a student in critical condition yet from another school. The group planning the event wanted to make the fundraiser about all victims and not just the sisters from their high school. They came up with a basketball event that would have a team named after each victim in the accident, and they reached out to our large city to get the best players from area high schools to play. They did more than that; they also connected with athletes that had graduated and are now playing in college. The planning team launched their idea on social media and were blown away by the response that they received. Real ideas, real communication, real results, all done by students.
Now I have to admit when they showed up at school with their enthusiasm and plan in motion with no viable venue, I thought oh goodness I hope there is a field house available. The district I work for graciously provided a venue when our principal reached out to them. The rest of the planning....well let's just say was amazing. The planning committee all took on different roles, from coordinating basketball players, bringing on help to organize the athletic event from a major university in our city, students to advertise, students to get media involved and students to bring sponsors on board. The students even appointed a point person to make sure the school's administration was up-to-date.
My post cannot begin to document or detail all of the work they did. What I can offer is...that it has been fantastic to see students work together and make a difference. I heard more than one student say this week, "I can't believe that we have been able to reach so many people and get responses...." These students felt the power of hard work, planning, vision and what can happen when a group of individuals come together and work for a common cause.
After the funeral, I happened to come across a Twitter post that shared the following video with Inky Johnson. Knowing your why, how and what ignites your passion and puts you in a lane to leave things better than you found them.
As educators, how can we encourage our students to find their voice and experience the power of making a difference through their learning and actions?