Thursday, November 19, 2015

Next Week: We'll Change History

“We each carry with us unique gifts, recognized and unrecognized. We long to harness those gifts in a way that gives life significance and helps us to matter more in the lives of others.” ― Tom Hayes

All of this started with a video.  

A Ted Talk.  
An inspiration.  

Feel free to take a few minutes to watch it.  It might just change your life in same way that it did mine when I first saw it in 2012:


In this inspirational TEDYouth 2011 Talk, best selling political novelist, non-fiction writer, TV show creator and comic book author Brad Meltzer encouraged students to dream big, work hard, and stay humble. Among the messages that stuck most with me:

History doesn't just go backward.  It goes forward too.  And all of those great things that haven't happened yet, that's just history waiting to be written.

Whether it was 17-year old comic book authors Seigel and Schuseter creating Superman, 26-year old Martin Luther King leading a revolution, or an 8-year old girl with cancer named Alex, who's lemonade stand has now raised over $45,000,000 to help fight that horrible disease, Meltzer's message that if you have something that you are passionate about, you dream big, you work hard and you stay humble, you can change the world has resonated with me for years.

All of history is just a bunch of stories, conflicting stories, big stories, little stories, our stories.  So how do you change history?  All you have to do is write your story. History is a selection process, and it chooses every one of us every single day. 


But how can we find opportunities for our students to write those stories?

As we did in February of 2014, students at East Greenwich High School will have another opportunity to write their ctories and change history on November 23rd and 24th when Angela Maiers will return to EGHS with her Choose2Matter team. 

On those two days, EGHS will be providing students with opportunities to work autonomously with expert mentors and decision makers to write their stories: to initiate organizations and projects centered on empowering them to make positive changes to their sphere of influence locally, nationally worldwide.

As you may find yourself skeptical of the ability of a high school full of kids to change the world, you should understand that many people under the age of 18 can and have changed the world. Here are just a few examples:


In order to help our students move beyond theoretical constructs, we bring in leaders, experts and decision makers from the community, the state and the country to act as sounding boards, facilitators, mentors and partners as our student’s and educator’s projects move from the realm of thought to action.  

Here is a current list of the mentors who will be here to work with our students, helping them to write their story and change history:

Monday, November 23
Tuesday, November 24
Multiple Groups


Congressman Jim Langevin: Member of the United States House of Representatives for Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district, Congressman Langevin has served RI since 2001.


Human Rights/Social Justice


Rebecca Noon: Rebecca Noon is an actor-creator, teacher, and arts administrator based in Providence, RI. Community Engagement Coordinator at Trinity Repertory Company.


Stephanie Badeau: Social worker /case manager at Crossroads RI, RI’s largest homeless management organization, housing homeless families. She assists families to become stable and self-sufficient, enhancing their parenting, budgeting and life skills.


Christina Jagolinzer: Development Coordinator at Foster Forward, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting children, young adults, and families whose lives have been impacted by foster care.     


Shawn Fennell: Visionary
“Wink” - wink2support.com is a worldwide disability awareness-raising campaign promoting the nonverbal, non-intrusive action of a “wink”, as spoken in American Sign Language, as a branded and recognized way to convey to children with disabilities – and their families – that their courageous example has touched our hearts.  


Elizabeth McNamara: Multimedia journalist and writer. Board chair of The Blessing Way, a nonprofit based in Providence that works with people coming out of prison or rehab to find secure footing to start a new life. Volunteer for the Mobile Loaves and Fishes ministry – a catering truck that goes to economically depressed neighborhoods providing a hot meal, clothing and toiletries those in need.


Laws and Politics


Justice Brian P Stern:  Associate Justice, Rhode Island Superior Court.  Presides over the Business Calendar and the Kent County Criminal Trial Calendar.  Fellow, American College of Business Court Judges. Adjunct Professor, Roger Williams University School of Law (2002-2008). Board Member, American Heart Association, RI


Karen Feisthamel: Practicing lawyer for 25 years, principally focused on trademarks, copyrights and patent law. She started her career working for two different federal agencies (FERC, and then the US Patent and Trademark Office), spent 12 years in private practice, and then 8 years in-house with corporate law, before recently returning to practice with a law firm.


Carolyn Mark: Chair, EG School Committee. An elected official who is increasingly engaged in education policy and local politics, Ms. Mark is looking for opportunities to more fully engage students in the governance of the school district, and is passionate about encouraging citizen engagement in the political process.


Michael Cerullo: Licensed Psychotherapist in Private Practice. Former member of the Exeter Town Council and have experience working with government agencies, the General Assembly, and in lobbying for various laws and public policy related to government reform, children's wellbeing, mental health and substance abuse issues.


Environment/Animals/Ecosystem


Laurie Horridge: Director of Executive Affairs & General Counsel for the Narragansett Bay Commission. An attorney overseeing clean water matters with EPA & RIDEM. Oversees education and public information programs designed to teach the public about the importance of sewers in our communities.  Oversees public works infrastructure construction projects built to prevent untreated sewerage from entering Narragansett Bay.


Jon Hare: Oceanographer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Serves as the Director of the NOAA Narragansett Laboratory.


Economics & Business


Erin Plaziak: Over 20 years working for MetLife, a Fortune 50 company. Currently Assistant Vice President of Customer Experience and Operational Strategies, responsible for 3 million customers.  She also holds a leadership position for MetLife's Women Business Network in the Americas Region, comprising the U.S. and Latin America. Serves on Board of Directors for Rhode Island Breast Cancer Coalition. Member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, who is driving the Artemis Project to end breast cancer by 2020. Providence Business News 40 Under Forty Award recipient.


Stephan Toljan: A senior business executive with more than 25 years of experience in various Marketing and Sales leadership roles in a large corporate environment for a multi-national consumer goods corporation. Just a little over a year ago he made a significant career change and assumed the responsibility for a small, local, family owned manufacturing company.


Andy Cohen: Small business owner, business coach, business networking leader. Works with numerous non-profits, largely in the theater and dance arenas, in aspects including financing and fundraising, board development, staffing, union relations, day-to-day operations. Experience in/with businesses in technical fields, arts, construction, etc.  Educated as an engineer, he spent the first ten years of his career teaching, mostly high school physics, chemistry and math. Currently working as a business coach, and board chair at Ocean State Theatre Company - a not-for-profit professional arts organization.


Robert Casagrande: A Mechanical Engineer by training with a few patents, currently working as a Chief Information Officer for Nortek, a $2.6B manufacturer of "Lifestyle innovations for home and work".


Melissa Skinnell: Background in economics, and international business. Has worked in Information Technology and IT Project Management for 20 years both in the corporate setting and in higher ed (at Brown University, running the Project Management Office). Key experience implementing technology solutions (software, hardware, infrastructure) to support federal civilian government agencies and higher education (academic & administrative). Strength is connecting people and technology and building relationships between technical and business staff. Volunteer work includes Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England and Warwick Synchronized Skating committee chair. Passionate about libraries, books and community connections.


Medical & Scientific Issues


Jon Hare: Oceanographer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I also serve as the Director of the NOAA Narragansett Laboratory.


Marie Moore - Director, Phoenix House. 21 years in the behavioral health field, 9 years as a cancer survivor.


Colleen Podraza: A registered nurse with 19+ years’ experience, including 14 years of working in an inner-city hospital on a Labor and Delivery unit. Her work currently involves teaching to help patients become independent in providing their own therapy, including adolescents. She has a very strong affinity towards gender issues, especially the empowerment of women and helping our young women become confident, assertive members of the community.


Education


Michael Hobin, M.Ed.: Principal, Coventry High School 2006-present. Assistant Principal 2002-2006,  2013 RI Principal of the Year. Former science teacher of physics, forensics, and general science.  B.S., Rhode Island College 1991, M.Ed. Rhode Island College 1993, M.Ed. Providence College, 1998.  Twitter:  @mjhobin


Brooke Macomber: Assistant Principal, Coventry High School. 2014 RI Assistant Principal of the Year.  Spanish teacher for 13 years. Assistant Principal for 7 years.


Jessica Waters: 2013 RI Teacher of the Year. Now holds a degree in educational leadership and is a RI certified building level administrator.


Domenic M. Giusti: Principal of James H. Eldredge, Elementary School. Dom has been an educator in the school district for the past 20 years.


David Quinn: Ph.D. student who works with teachers and students around self or peer-selected inquiry projects. He has used design thinking models to tackle relevant challenges and improve our community.


Tyler Dobrowsky: Tyler Dobrowsky is the associate artistic and education director at Trinity Rep, a Tony award winning theater in Providence RI. Tyler teaches for the Brown/Trinity M.F.A. program as well as Trinity Rep’s educational programs for children and adults.


Wendy Bowen: A former MS science teacher for 32 years. She has also been a teacher leader, student advisor and helped create teacher /student mentor groups, and peer mediation at Newtown MS using the tools of restitution, where teachers and student leaders use restitution (restorative questions) to resolve conflicts by making a wrong right. As a Sandy Hook Promise leader she is working to help schools implement programs to prevent gun violence (sandyhookpromise.org).
Multiple Groups


Senator Jack Reed: The senior United States Senator from Rhode Island, serving since 1997. Senator Reed previously served in the United States House of Representatives for Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district from 1991 to 1997.


Human Rights/Social Justice


Rebecca Noon: Rebecca Noon is an actor-creator, teacher, and arts administrator based in Providence, RI. Community Engagement Coordinator at Trinity Repertory Company.


Stephanie Badeau: Social worker /case manager at Crossroads RI, RI’s largest homeless management organization, housing homeless families. She assists families to become stable and self-sufficient, enhancing their parenting, budgeting and life skills.


Shawn Fennell: Visionary
“Wink” - wink2support.com is a worldwide disability awareness-raising campaign promoting the nonverbal, non-intrusive action of a “wink”, as spoken in American Sign Language, as a branded and recognized way to convey to children with disabilities – and their families – that their courageous example has touched our hearts.  


Katie Hook: Global studies teacher at Cole Middle School with years of support for human rights issues, including visiting organizations working with the poor in Nicaragua.


Michael DePasquale: Alumni and Outreach coordinator at All In Solutions Counseling Center. Former student athlete at East Greenwich High School, Class of 2009 who became homeless and addicted to heroin on the streets of Massachusetts. After 6 years of addiction he found a solution. Now sober for over a year and a half, his goal is to carry a message of hope for those struggling with addiction.


Laws and Politics


Justice Brian P Stern: Associate Justice, Rhode Island Superior Court.  Presides over the Business Calendar and the Kent County Criminal Trial Calendar.  Fellow, American College of Business Court Judges. Adjunct Professor, Roger Williams University School of Law (2002-2008). Board Member, American Heart Association, RI


Tara Wood:  Lawyer for the National Football League, oversees Employee Relations and disciplinary measures related to performance and violations of the Personal Conduct Policy. She also drafts and helps enforce the NFL's workplace and employment policies.


Melody A. Alger: Civil trial attorney practicing in Providence, RI with  25 years of trial experience and she was the first woman to have earned membership in the RI Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, an invitation-only organization of lawyers with extensive jury trial experience. She presently serves as President of that organization and is the past President of the RI Women's Bar Association.


Karen Feisthamel: Practicing lawyer for 25 years, principally focused on trademarks, copyrights and patent law. She started her career working for two different federal agencies (FERC, and then the US Patent and Trademark Office), spent 12 years in private practice, and then 8 years in-house with corporate law, before recently returning to practice with a law firm.


Carolyn Mark: Chair, EG School Committee. An elected official who is increasingly engaged in education policy and local politics, Ms. Mark is looking for opportunities to more fully engage students in the governance of the school district, and is passionate about encouraging citizen engagement in the political process.


David Osborne: EG School Committee Member- policy advisor for numerous political candidates around the United States. Graduate of Boston College Law School with experience in drafting federal and state legislation and regulations.


Michael Cerullo: Licensed Psychotherapist in Private Practice. Former member of the Exeter Town Council and have experience working with government agencies, the General Assembly, and in lobbying for various laws and public policy related to government reform, children's wellbeing, mental health and substance abuse issues.


Environment/Animals/Ecosystem


David Osborne: EG School Committee Member- Oversaw one of the country's most successful large-scale energy conservation and efficiency campaign and later worked for a non-profit energy services company.


Hugh A Peltz II: Head of Health, Safety, and Environment for Citizens Bank and can facilitate discussions/mentor on the intersection of business and environmental sustainability.


Jon Hare: Oceanographer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Serves as the Director of the NOAA Narragansett Laboratory.


Economics & Business


Stephan Toljan: A senior business executive with more than 25 years of experience in various Marketing and Sales leadership roles in a large corporate environment for a multi-national consumer goods corporation. Just a little over a year ago he made a significant career change and assumed the responsibility for a small, local, family owned manufacturing company.


Robert Casagrande: A Mechanical Engineer by training with a few patents, currently working as a Chief Information Officer for Nortek, a $2.6B manufacturer of "Lifestyle innovations for home and work".


Andy Cohen: Small business owner, business coach, business networking leader. Works with numerous non-profits, largely in the theater and dance arenas, in aspects including financing and fundraising, board development, staffing, union relations, day-to-day operations. Experience in/with businesses in technical fields, arts, construction, etc.  Educated as an engineer, he spent the first ten years of his career teaching, mostly high school physics, chemistry and math. Currently working as a business coach, and board chair at Ocean State Theatre Company - a not-for-profit professional arts organization.


Medical & Scientific Issues


SallyAnne Lund, MD: Trained in pediatrics, child psychiatry, adult psychiatry. Experience in college mental health and in psychiatry private practice.


Stefanie Aronow: Pediatrician - Practicing general primary care for the last 15 years, providing care for patients ranging in age from Birth to 22 years old. Special interests in child development, immunization education, advocacy, and whole family approach to health and wellness.  


Jon Hare: Oceanographer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I also serve as the Director of the NOAA Narragansett Laboratory.


Marie Moore - Director, Phoenix House. 21 years in the behavioral health field, 9 years as a cancer survivor.


Colleen Podraza: A registered nurse with 19+ years’ experience, including 14 years of working in an inner-city hospital on a Labor and Delivery unit. Her work currently involves teaching to help patients become independent in providing their own therapy, including adolescents. She has a very strong affinity towards gender issues, especially the empowerment of women and helping our young women become confident, assertive members of the community.


Education


Michael Hobin, M.Ed.: Principal, Coventry High School 2006-present. Assistant Principal 2002-2006,  2013 RI Principal of the Year. Former science teacher of physics, forensics, and general science.  B.S., Rhode Island College 1991, M.Ed. Rhode Island College 1993, M.Ed. Providence College, 1998.  Twitter: @mjhobin


Brooke Macomber: Assistant Principal, Coventry High School. 2014 RI Assistant Principal of the Year.  Spanish teacher for 13 years. Assistant Principal for 7 years.


Jessica Waters: 2013 RI Teacher of the Year. Now holds a degree in educational leadership and is a RI certified building level administrator.


Tyler Dobrowsky: Tyler Dobrowsky is the associate artistic and education director at Trinity Rep, a Tony award winning theater in Providence RI. Tyler teaches for the Brown/Trinity M.F.A. program as well as Trinity Rep’s educational programs for children and adults.


Michele Gay: Former elementary school teacher and the founder of Safe and Sound Schools (safeandsoundschools.org) a Sandy Hook Initiative that deals with promoting reform for school safety around the US.


Wendy Bowen: A former MS science teacher for 32 years. She has also been a teacher leader, student advisor and helped create teacher /student mentor groups, and peer mediation at Newtown MS using the tools of restitution, where teachers and student leaders use restitution (restorative questions) to resolve conflicts by making a wrong right. As a Sandy Hook Promise leader she is working to help schools implement programs to prevent gun violence (sandyhookpromise.org).

You will change history.  Some of you will change it in big ways, affecting millions of people.  Others will do it in more personal ways, helping a family member or someone who needs it.  But let me tell you right now, one is not more important than the other.  
If you help people in mass or one by one, that's how history gets changed.  
When you take action. 

You don't have to start a multimillion dollar lemonade stand to change the world, all you've got to do is help one person.  I believe that ordinary people can change the world.  I believe in regular people and their ability to change this world.  

Here's a special message from Brad to our students in advance of Choose2Matter.


We can all do something incredibly beyond ourselves.  So whatever it is that you dream big about, whatever it is that you work hard for, don't let anyone tell you that you are too young, and don't let anyone tell you no.  Every life makes history.  And every life is a story.

Our students are going to write stories that will change to world.  They will do it through their own genius, with the help of an incredible faculty and an amazing group of mentors.

Please feel free to support them throughout the coming week by Tweeting messages of hope and encouragement using the hashtags #eghsmatters or #makeitmatterEG.

We are about to change history.  Believe it.  I do.



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