At the end of September, I had the privilege of joining a few colleagues and 25 middle school students at WE Day UN in New York City. WE Day is a yearly celebration that works to empower young people to make a difference in their community, to be the change they want to see in the world. The day includes world-renowned speakers and advocates, musical performances, and inspirational stories of students who have made a difference in their own schools and communities. We had the opportunity to hear from Marc and Craig Kielburger (co-founders of WE), Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Sparsh Shah, Esera Tuaolo, R.J.Palacio, Juan Manuel Santos, Princess Beatrice, David Robinson, and Spencer West. The energy and excitement in the Barclays Center was incredible. It was such a blessing to share this experience with our students. It was also priceless to see the wonder and amazement on their faces as we ambled the streets of New York City and made our way through Time Square.
Just over a week ago, LCA hosted its first WE Day for students in grade 4-8. Our very own, Amanda Podhradsky, opened the event with an incredible performance of This Is Me. Next, Mr. Sinchak introduced our keynote speaker, Mr. Spencer West. Spencer is a motivational speaker and WE Ambassador. Through his mantra of Redefine Possible, Spencer shared his story of the challenges he faced after losing his legs at the age of five. Rather than feeling sorry for himself or be defined by his disability, Spencer chose to dedicate his life’s work to making the world a better place. He shared powerful stories of his work to build schools in Africa and India, his 186 mile walk from Edmonton to Calgary, and his climbing of Mount Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise money for the clean water initiative. This emotional story brought many to tears as they listened to Spencer explain the physical demand this put on him and his friends, yet they refused to give up and accomplished their goal together.
Both WE Day events remind us how blessed and fortunate we all are in our lives. They also challenge us to think beyond ourselves, to find something we are passionate about, and be a positive change in the world, letting nothing hold us back.
~Meghann Campbell, Middle School Department Chairperson