The Power of Youth Ideas, Leadership and Passion

January was a time when our young people at Roycemore were immersed in learning.  Our Upper School students participated in a variety of January Short Term (JST) projects during this three-week period when all classes were suspended and students worked on their individual or group projects.  Our Middle School students engaged in Experience Week last week when all Middle School classes were suspended and the students worked on their P3 projects (Personal Passion Projects), engaged in deep investigations on topics of their choosing that they selected using a Design Thinking exercise.  Last Friday our Middle School students shared their “work in progress” at the P3 Expo– “in progress” because part of the learning is that in order to come up with the best solutions, continual iteration is needed. This Thursday evening our Upper School students will share their JST projects and experiences at a JST Expo that will take place immediately after our State of the School address.  I hope many members of our community can join us!

This week, a timely episode from “On Being” with Krista Tippet explores the unique power of young people who bring their passion forward to advance our society.  Kristin Lin, editor of the On Being Project, provided a great introduction to this episode, entitled “The Evolutionary Power of Children and Teenagers.”  Lin highlighted the activism of Greta Thunberg and others this past week at Davos.  Thunberg and others ask older generations to listen to them.  Listen– my topic from last week’s newsletter. There is much to learn from intergenerational dialogue.  The learning at Roycemore, too, is not one-way. For example, last week during the P3 Expo I learned a great deal about dyslexia from one of our seventh-grade students whose project focused on helping students with dyslexia and how schools can support these students.  Another student taught me a great deal about healthy eating. Still another taught me about prejudice that exists against people who live in Nagasaki, Japan and some of the history about the people who live there and what they have experienced in the 75 years since the atomic bomb was dropped.  The students, through their passion, have become the experts. The adults have moved into the role of coach and guide to support the learning process. These students and the passions they champion can teach us a great deal as we consider the role of school to prepare them to lead us in solving the complex issues we face today.