Saturday, February 21, 2015

Student Leadership Day

On February 19, seven ACT members had a wonderful opportunity to go to the Illinois Holocaust Museum for Student Leadership Day.  Even in the bitter cold, when many schools were cancelled, eleven middle schools from around Chicago came together for an inspirational day.

The day began with an introspection of ourselves and then defining what leadership means.  These activities helped to put all of us in the right state of mind to hear from Janine Oberottman, a survivor of the Holocaust.  Her message was one of hope and how leadership comes in all different forms.  She talked about the leadership roles that she and others took during the Holocaust to survive.  When asked how she survived, Janine said, "They wanted me dead and I wanted to live."  Wow.

After a tour of the museum, we then discussed the leadership that we saw in the exhibits.  We talked about good and bad leaders, and the difference between leaders, upstanders and heroes.

Finally, it was time for our keynote speaker, Andrew Slack of the Harry Potter Alliance.  He was a dynamic speaker who not only made us laugh, but also made us think.  He talked about how the power of story can change the world.  He told us to "take what's right and make it popular".  Andrew reminded us, "Don't use words to silence someone else's words."  He wants us to imagine better and find a purpose with patience, persistence and pizzazz.  He finally reminded us DFTBA (Don't Forget to Be Awesome)!

Here are some examples of how the Harry Potter Alliance has used the power of story to make a difference:

The Hunger Games are Real:
Harry Potter Fans Win Against Child Slavery:

Simple steps can make a difference!  What will your rap be?

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