The 20/20 Student Stream focused on digital citizenship, mental health & wellness, and diversity & inclusion. Students and speakers were encouraged to be engaged, ask questions, and share their thoughts on these matters that are becoming increasingly important in the education system. Their insight was helpful in creating a safe space where new ideas could be discussed without judgement.
The initial portion of the conference consisted of presentations on digital citizenship. Social media and its proper use was the center of the dialogue between the speakers and the students. Since we cannot avoid growing use of digital media, it is crucial that we learn how to use it effectively. We need to control it rather than let it control us. Caroline and Kimron made this message clear and students agreed that social media has become a part of their every day lives whether it is on their phones, tablets, or laptops.
The next theme of the conference was health & wellness. Jaqueline brought up chi gong as a new topic for the students to learn. She emphasized how it has helped her in mindfulness and then went on to guide the students to how it is practiced. The students were engaged by talking about how they deal with stress and later mentioned how relaxing the exercise was for them. Matt was the second speaker on health & wellness. His sense of humour was engaging for the students and he also had them move around and get to know each other. Throughout his presentation, he kept the students motivated and eager to listen for when he shared his personal stories.
After lunch, the students moved on to our diversity & inclusion workshops. Jason led the discussion by getting everyone pumped up and sharing stories with an anti-bullying message. He shared why he believes sports are essential in promoting inclusivity.
The Harmony Movement workshop led by Punita and Koryn gave the students activities that dealt with diversity and inclusion. They had insightful conversations about prejudice, stereotypes, and icebergs. Yes, icebergs. As Punita and Koryn mentioned, you can only see 10% of an iceberg while the other 90% is under water. The same goes for people. There are many things that we can see, but there is much more beneath that we don’t know unless they tell us. Their exercises were informative and interactive making it a great end to the conference.
Everyone who came to our conference made a difference. It was great to see students who wanted to participate and learn. These are the strong leaders we need to build safer schools and communities.
–“I can bring more information back to my school, for myself about mental, physical, and social awareness.”
–“This conference has taught me about many topics that I find are important in my life and I can apply info I have learned into my life.”