Students ARE the Difference

I spent the past weekend in Des Moines and on Saturday attended the RISE conference. Mary Beth Tinker (of Tinker vs. Des Moines) actually was a keynote speaker at the conference this year, which was truly incredible. This group is dedicated to helping the student voice be heard in Iowa’s education system. Through events and online networking, the organization brings together students, educators, and community leaders from all over Iowa to improve education. The photo itself is the leaders and volunteers that helped put the RISE conference together. We arrived at Waukee High School at 7 in the morning and did not leave until 6 that evening. The day was filled with set up, take down, keynote speakers to empower students, and finally, student run sessions. The students actually chose the topics they wanted to discuss and were given the opportunity to lead sessions about their topics with other students. I attended sessions that discussed LGBT Awareness and Clubs, Suicide Prevention, and Problems within the Fine Arts. At each session, the students found issues within each topic, and then discussed ways to solve those issues. The conference was incredibly productive, if I am being completely honest. I was blown away by the fact that this non-profit was completely student run and is very successful. The kids that are part of this group are the positive influence our world needs to make it a better place. I felt blessed beyond description, being given an opportunity to help put such an amazing day together. I have never seen something of this caliber put together by simple high school students. It is an amazing opportunity for those not involved with volunteering and leadership within the organization because it puts and mindset in middle and high school students heads to create change in our world and solve the problems they see within the Iowa education system. I know the media has been showing negativity quite often lately, and I truly believe it is time to bring positivity into our world. Such events like the RISE conference.

should be praised in the news and in papers. I want our nation to see more positivity in the media. ___ Written by RISE 2016 attendee, Jared Torgeson, who is a freshman at Wartburg College. Interested in guest blogging? Give us a holler!