Change is constantly happening around us. One that directly affects youth are those changes affecting our education system, including the information and skills we learn and the environment we learn in.
For the 200 plus students gathered from across AB at the third annual Speak Out Conference in Edmonton, it was their chance to influence the direction of that change.
From April 15 to 17, youth attendees had the unique opportunity to discuss their opinion on the future of education in their own province with Alberta Board of Education representatives and peers.
Students came to Speak Out for many different reasons, but once they arrived, everyone had one thing on their mind – they wanted to create change by raising their voices.
“If we don’t have a say, a lot of people won’t be interested in learning it,” says Amanda Lotos, an attendee from High Level Public School in Fort Vermillion, AB. Lotos applied to Speak Out after her school hosted their own forum for students to make direct changes to their school.
But it isn’t just the students who attend the conference that make a difference; it is also those who help organize it. The MSAC (Minister’s Student Advisory Council), made up of 60 students, organized each session for the conference based on what they noticed to be the main areas of concern in education.
“The student voice, lots of times, is over looked, and many people look down on younger people, thinking they’re not experienced, says MSAC member Shane Scott. They don’t know anything but having the student voice… it plays such a big part.”
MSAC members like Scott and fellow member Sabrina Poonja are key in opening up opportunity for other students to be heard.
“Since Alberta Education started the Speak Out initiative, we know they’re going to take these ideas and embrace them and think of new and innovative ways to solve the concerns that we have,” reassured Poonja. “[Alberta's Board of Education will] consider the solutions we’re proposing, so that students around the province will be able to take their education and be successful with it in the future years.”
After a third year of succesful turnout and participation at the event, it's evident how important making a difference in their own education is to many AB students. Because any changes aren’t only affecting the students today; they will also shape the minds of tomorrow’s leaders.
Alberta students can still share their voice or apply to come to next year's Speak Out Conference at Speak Out’s official site.Login or register to post comments. All comments have to go through a queue for approval to keep the nasty stuff out, but we'll post yours as soon as we can.