On February 17, 2017, Asociación Escuelas Lincoln in Buenos Aires held its first student-led conference, called SPEAK! (Students Presenting Educational Activities for Knowledge). All students from grades 6 through 12, as well as teachers and parents, were invited to present at and to attend the conference. As a result, there were over 80 different workshops to choose from, 60 of which were entirely student-led. Students were encouraged to create workshops based on their own passions, and, as a result, workshops ranged from Improv Comedy, to First Aid, to Cooking Chinese Food, to How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube. In addition to student-led workshops, there were also workshops offered by parents, teachers and staff on different topics including, among many others, robotics, carpentry, yoga, and dance. Students were encouraged not only to present about their passions but also to choose workshops to attend that spoke to them and their interests.
The SPEAK conference was an opportunity for Lincoln’s community to connect and to celebrate learning. The main purpose of the event was to increase student voice and to give students the opportunity to teach about topics that inspire them. For many students, the opportunity to teach their teachers and peers something new was exciting and different. Lincoln’s Innovate Committee worked closely with students, faculty and staff to help develop the event and make it a success. In total, over 600 people were in attendance, including faculty, staff and parents.
The Opening Ceremony of the event featured Lincoln alumni from as far back as the class of 1948 and as recently as the class of 2016. It was a special opportunity for alumni to express how much the Lincoln community has shaped and inspired them. After an exciting day of workshops, the day concluded with the Closing Ceremony. The final event of the day was the SPEAK Slam in which ten students were asked to present their vision for Lincoln’s future. These students were chosen prior to the event which gave them time to perfect their slam speeches and keep them under the three minute limit. The SPEAK Slam winner was 10th grader Leonardo Lin who wowed the crowd with his vision of a fully sustainable Lincoln campus in the future. The Closing Ceremony also featured raffle prizes and even a flash mob (who secretly prepared in their OULA Dance workshop earlier!). The Opening and Closing Ceremonies were symbolic bookends celebrating Lincoln’s past and visions for Lincoln’s future. The workshops in between showcased Lincoln’s present moment, a celebration of learning and student voice.
You can view our video about the conference and hear what attendees said about it HERE