Today I had the honor of participating in a 9/11 Memorial Service at Southwest Miami Senior High School with the Student Council and Army JROTC – Eagle Battalion cadets. These students did a phenomenal job of honoring those individuals who lost their lives on that tragic day 11 years ago.
While touring classrooms and speaking with students, I realized that they were just as engaged and active in education as their parents and teachers. These students asked great questions and were well informed about what is happening in their school and across the state.
I think it is important that we as educators, administrators, and decision makers remember that while we want what is best for our students, we should also listen and understand what their educational wants and need are. We must keep our students actively engaged and informed about education.
Our discussion with the students and teachers at Southwest Miami Senior High is proof that Florida is headed in the right direction.
They are our future, so shouldn’t they have a say in how their futures are built? Children’s Week, an annual celebration taking place this year from Jan. 29 – Feb. 3, supported by more than 100 organizations, is giving students a voice in everything from early childhood education to substance abuse treatment through its “Teens Only” Town Hall Meeting.
The meeting gives teens the opportunity to ask questions of government officials, policy makers, children’s developmental professionals and advocacy experts that are a part of the 20-member Florida Children and Youth Cabinet.
But there’s more! The students’ voice doesn’t end there.
As of last year, students selected for the “Teens Only” Town Hall Meeting are official members of the 12-student Youth Commission for the state of Florida! This Commission represents youth across the state and act as an advisory body to the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet. A Commission representative attends all Cabinet meetings and provides updates to the Cabinet on current issues facing Florida’s youth.
We encourage ALL students across the state from ages 13-18 to apply to be a part of this great opportunity. The nomination deadline is quickly approaching, so please be sure to get your application in by Nov. 18!