Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Future Leaders in Today's Classroom and The Edward Kennedy Institute

There are some life experiences that you have to pinch yourself to make sure you are really there. Last night was one of those times for me as I sat in the replica of the Senate Chamber at the Edward Kennedy Institute listening to Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom, Jr. The two men discussed teachers who inspired and encouraged them. Daveed shared a tale of having to memorizing a poem each week (I had flashbacks of reciting Oh Captain My Captain by Walt Whitman). He decided instead of reciting the poem he had been assigned to share he would act it out. He fondly remembered his classmates laughing when they were supposed to which set him on a creative path towards being an entertainer. We were fortunate to hear about the evolution of how they ended up on Hamilton. More importantly we learned about the revolution our children are part of and how they can make a difference in our world.
The Edward Kennedy Institute is a destination for anyone! Here visitors learn about civic learning and engagement. Students are exposed to our government in an awe inspiring way. They become a future senator the minute they walk through the doors. The interactive exhibits draw guests into the world of Edward Kennedy and his legacy. With the election on the horizon there is an election wall tracking progress of candidates. There is also a place where visitors can learn things like how a bill becomes a law. When guests are ushered into the Senate Chamber they literally feel like their world has been transformed, as you are standing in such an important room. Thinking about all the decisions that have been made in a room just like this is astounding. The Institute offers a rich history, as well as a place for our future leaders to learn and grow.
As I listened to Daveed Diggs rap his own songs and Leslie Odom Jr., sing his from his new jazz material I was also reminded that creativity empowers us all. Our young leaders need time to explore, make decisions, collaborate, speak publically, and take risks. This is what the classroom of today needs to offer.

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