Students at Maumee Valley Country Day School on Friday will tackle some of the most pressing issues teens face during the school's annual Issue Day.
This year's theme is Youth Culture: Growing Up in the Modern Age. College admissions, technology, politics and safe sex are just a few of the topics that junior students from Maumee Valley, high school students from greater Toledo, and guest speakers will address at the event.
"It's a way to start a discussion with our peers," said Emily Boyk, a junior at MVCDS and co-chairman of communications for the event. "Youth culture is about teens, so it's important for teens to have these conversations."
The meeting-of-the-minds event, which gives students an opportunity to convene and mull over topics and issues that are of concern, is put on by the junior class. A committee of 11th graders is responsible for selecting topics, securing guest speakers, inviting other schools and ensuring the assembly runs smoothly.
In addition to the lessons that will be learned from the discussions, there was much to be gained from planning the event, said Gareth Griffith, head of the MVCD Upper School.
"They have created this conference and learned how to put something like this on," Mr. Griffith said. "They've learned how to organize, search for speakers and choose topics that are of importance to them, but other students as well. When they go to college, they will able to organize and hold a conference."
The committee voted on which topics to cover, adding that they wanted to be current and diverse. Past year's topics include technology, media, and national security.
"We were looking for relevant topics that would be of interest to the students," said Julia Hamer-Light, also co-chairman of communications for the event. "We want to talk about things that are going on right now in our lives."
Students get to customize their schedules, choosing which workshops they'd like to attend. The assembly will begin with a keynote address from Justin Chenette, a Democratic member of the Maine House of Representatives and the youngest legislator in Maine.
Toledo activist Steve North will discuss youth in poverty and Lisa Kovach, a professor at the University of Toledo will discuss bullying. Other speakers include local experts Nathan Drendell, Thomas Estrella, Paul D. Longnecker, Lorna Gonsalves, Jim Funk, Michael Arrigo, Kim Crozier, Arto Woodley, LaDonna Knabbs, Jeff Osthimer, Wendy Nathan, Bill Geha, Charlene Gilbert, Sean Nestor, Karen S. Mazzeo and Hannah Halfhill.
The day will conclude with a closing keynote address from Maara Fink, a professor at the University of Toledo and board member of Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio.
The workshops will be interactive and centered around student participation. Students can anonymously submit questions to be answered by the experts.
"We want to help students," said Cammie Lonsway, co-chairman of the event with Rochell Issa. "We want them to be able to learn form each of the speakers and leave with a better understanding of some of the things they're dealing with."
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