In the last three years, I have watched the students in Youth Ambassadors demonstrate their energy and compassion for inspiring positive change in our community. On December 16th, they had the opportunity to meet Michelle Rhee, a leader in today’s education reform, to discuss what they felt was wrong with the education system in Seattle. In this group of high school and middle school students from all walks of life, I did not just hear statements about the lack of resources in our public school system, but also mature statements about the fundamental need of high quality teachers and learning environments to allow for upward mobility and equality in all educational systems. It was at this exclusive youth and Rhee discussion that I found a deeper level of appreciation and pride for the work these students have done. They clearly made it a point that their wisdom and voices ought to be heard.
Ultimately, I felt that Ms. Rhee and the parents whom were present at the hour long discussion walked away with a deeper conviction that the Youth Ambassadors know what is insufficient in the education system. I knew that everyone left with an understanding that the need for change and improvement has never been as sought after as it is today. While Ms. Rhee continues with her campaign to bring about change in our nation, I am confident that the work that the Youth Ambassadors are facilitating in the Seattle Public Schools district has allowed them to hold a productive, serious, and also lively conversations with the leaders in our community, and that the change that they create in their community will soon be felt at the national level with Ms. Rhee’s.
I must thank Ms. Rhee and also other community leaders that the Youth Ambassadors have had met with for recognizing that the youth of today are indeed the richest commodity that we have as a nation. I hope that as I continue to follow the Youth Ambassadors that more adults will take moment like Ms. Rhee to sit down with a student and learn what they like and need from the social systems that organize their lives.