Connecting with Idea Festival 2017

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A panel of students from JCPS schools discuss the improvements that can be made to the classrooms that will benefit every type of learner. From left to right: Anjali Chadha (10, MST), Jack Bradley (11, MST), Brittany Jewell (12, Central High School), Naudia Green (9, Central High School), Pearl Morttey (12, Fern Creek High School), Sydney Blocker (12, J&C).

On Friday, Feb. 24, the fourth annual JCPS Idea Festival was held in the Spalding University auditorium. This year’s Idea Festival featured the theme of Connectivity in all aspects of student life. Teenage speakers from various high schools touched on a multitude of topics such as equal rights, music, debate, and education.

A majority of JCPS high schools, along with some private schools, attended the festival. Dr. Donna Hargens, Mayor Greg Fischer, and Representative John Yarmuth also spoke on behalf of the festival and the positive outcome it creates.

“It [JCPS Idea Festival] gets better every year, but the quality of the presentations is outstanding. So, it is really students being empowered to take charge of demonstrating their learning so it’s amazing,” said Dr. Hargens.

Shan’Taya Cowan, a senior at Fairdale High School, was the opening student speaker to set the mood for the entire duration of the festival. Her slam poems titled, “The Jungle Where I’m From” and “She…” left the audience with an insight into America through the eyes of an African-American woman.

“The most rewarding part of Idea Fest was watching all of the speakers deliver a passionate speech on the topics they care most about,” said Cowan.

Jack Bradley (11, MST), another speaker at this year’s Idea Festival, gave his presentation on the experiences he has overcome as a special needs student in JCPS. In his presentation, Bradley shared the obstacles he had to face because he learned in a different way than others. Bradley opened the eyes of the audience, showing everyone that special needs children are not helpless nobodies, that they have an identity too.

“My favorite part of Idea Fest was showing other students that they can empower themselves,” said Bradley.

“Idea Fest was awesome because it brought everyone together on something that all relates to us through culture,” said Kenny Brooks (11, Seneca).

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Bryce Grant is the special projects coordinator on RedEye this year. He loves chick fil a, photography and traveling. Bryce enjoys getting to explore new places and taking risks. You can contact him at bryce.grant@manualjc.com or Bryceagrant on Instagram.