Forums for Futures

It would be pretty easy to just let some pretty outstanding moments slip by, and yet, the whole purpose of this blog was to be able to capture some of the most amazing moments that often defy explanation.  I am about eight posts behind so hang on – these are necessary.

Last Saturday, Soroptimist International hosted the 2019 Youth Forum: 2019 Title: Behaviors and Choices: Thinking Beyond the Moment. I honestly was not even aware this was a THING, I had heard about it in March and thought, that might be kind of cool considering some students in our school that had risen to the top of their individual forum 4groups like FFA, BPA, and threw this idea out to several.  By random chance, I was able to get two young ladies, Alyssa and Nina, 9th and 11th grade to turn in their permission slips and there we were, 8:00AM ish at Trinity Logisitics in Seaford and I honestly had NO IDEA what was going to happen.  I did know this was a non-debate format but beyond that I knew little except for the possibility I thought these two young ladies from Woodbridge had based on the talents they possessed.

As we were in the upper office meeting room at Trinity, we began to see some pretty influential members of the community and I was getting a little nervous not knowing how to best prepare the two representatives I brought from Woodbridge. From directors of the Public Librarforum 1y in Seaford, to the Chief of Police, to Supervisors at the Morning Star Publications, a lot of community leaders were here to help moderate and judge a great topic of discussion for today’s youth and currently a hot topic in the media every day. One thing I have to summarize after seeing this occur – with the students not being aware of the topics or questions asked ahead of time, I was more proud of them for giving up an early morning Saturday to yes, compete for a potential cash prize for their participation but also, they way they conducted themselves gave me hope for the future.  Nina pounced on every single question to the first and would come back to the questions with a follow-up if she felt it was necessary.  Alyssa was willing to be there surrounded by people obviously well practiced in public speaking, and yet still jumped in the middle of the foray and held her own constantly presenting how to discuss a view opposite of what everyone else had voiced.  This takes extreme guts to jump into a group of 14 other students and just part the water so to speak to get your point across and be heard.  AND ALL THESE STUDENTS TOGETHER, ON A SATURDAY, WILLING TO PUT THEIR BEST EFFORT FORTH – on issues pertinent today – more people need to see events like this happening in our community – I was like YEAH!

I learned much just from hearing from students from all the varying school districts, and seeing their approaches.  forum2.jpgThe top place finisher had handouts on the general topics that were brought up based on the introductory themes, and that was definitely, first place impressive being able to hand out percentages and tie to questions no one knew exactly yet.  Second and third did well too, but, call me bias, and it is okay, I was impressed with how our ladies threw themselves into a forum of topics that have everything with today’s generations and be able to provide analogies of how these topics have influenced them.  One specific question Nina responded to inquiring about how she consider who has influenced her much, and she pointed out alongside her parent Mr. Shelton, who is her BPA and instructor as Woodbridge High. I had to tell him this, but it made me feel so honored to see educators also do play a role in how individuals can make individual and personal gains in areas of their lives.  I thought, “How crazy proud would he be?” and I was crazy proud of her for point of fact stating this and giving Mr. Shelton credit for so many of the accomplishments she has achieved over this past school year.  I also admired Alyssa in a differing answer mentioning how much her family/parents have influenced her, and realized that she did not hesitate in the least in answering those questions, and as these forum 5young ladies went along, they did get bolder, more confident, and strategic in their responses. 

I was proud these ladies never wavered to approach something such as this forum that was unknown to them, and jumping right into the middle and holding their own.  The sacrifice they made on this first of “I can’t remember” Saturdays was noted and said volumes about what they were willing to sacrifice if they believed in themselves and an event itself.  Sure, money was a possibility but you saw after a while in their concern and care with the topics – that was an aside compared to the effort they put in. Not to mention after this event, Alyssa would go on to support a Junior/Sophomore mulch fundraiser AND a Lions Club Spaghetti Dinner and not getting home until 9:00PM at night, leaving that morning from her home around 7:30 AM.  That was certainly not in the plan book and yet she went crazy lengths to support so many other “not on the agenda items” in the absence of others.

Educators of all areas certainly do put in their share of hours and then some, and I thought about  the fact that sometimes, the moments that fall outside those hours seem to be reflected even more in letting you see the growth of students and how the react and perform outside the classroom.  This particular event certainly did that and reflected outforum 3 the potential that every student can have outside the classroom when ideas, strategies, and lessons are applied to the real world outside of a form school setting.  I felt that these two young ladies applied so much that was not in a planned lesson in one day, you couldn’t help see how bright their future would be – that is a true education at work thanks to the support of organizations like Trinity Logisitics, Soroptimist of Seaford, parents, peers, and yes, educators.  It certainly takes a community to show the extra possibilities that exist outside of what many consider an education. You will not want to see how food for therapy has been taken on to connect with fears about food for so many teens.  Another story of how young students that are inspired by conflicts that seem larger than they are, make amazing success stories out of those obstacles.  You will LOVE and maybe even cry when you see the inner strength that a story about a young lady that took food as her worst fear and turned in into her connection to others to become a healthier self.  Stay tuned!



About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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