December 15, 2014
More than 350 Grade 7-12 students and staff members from the Halton District School Board attended last week’s Making The Change conference designed to develop student leadership in the areas of international human rights and social justice.
Held in Burlington, the conference highlighted for students a variety of social justice initiatives happening in the Board, local communities, across Canada and beyond. Students took part in workshops to share and brainstorm ideas to make positive changes to the world around them. For example, McKenzie-Smith Bennett Public School students presented a workshop about how to create more inclusive environments for people with disabilities while Frank J. Hayden Secondary School students presented a workshop about the effect of war on children.
“We hope to motivate students and call them to action to take leadership roles in their respective schools, communities, this country and globally,” said Robert Stenekes, Equity and Inclusive Education Student/Community Facilitator with the Halton District School Board. “The conference enables students to engage in learning about the causes and results of inequity in the world, and more importantly, ways to address it.”
One of the conference keynote speakers, Dwayne Morgan, a spoken word artist, encouraged students to be courageous and do what the conference name suggests – make changes to better society.
“As young people, I want you to understand the power you have to affect change,” he said. “The world we live in has changed before because of the efforts of young people no different from any of you in this room. They believed in their ideas.”
Tony Mistek, Grade 12 student from White Oaks Secondary School, said he hopes fellow students attending Making the Change understand they have capabilities to make change.
“They are the future generation so they can determine what change can happen in the future,” he said.
Making The Change connected to curriculum requirements in a variety of ways including enhancing student engagement and specific learning expectations in Kindergarten-Grade 8 Social Studies and Grade 9-12 Social Science and Humanities.
PHOTO CAPTION: One of the keynote speakers, Dwayne Morgan, a spoken word artist, encouraged students to be courageous and make change.