So, from September 25-27, Jean Buckley (President & CEO), Taylor Sarman (FBLA National President), and I traveled to New York City to convene with about 250 of the nation’s educators, leaders, politicians, and representatives to discuss the state of our nation’s education at NBC’s Education Nation Summit.
I’ll be honest, when I entered the conference, I was one of only about six students there, so I wasn’t sure how much voice we would actually have in the conference. I was most surprised by how interactive and welcoming everyone was toward the students. They truly valued our opinion. I even got to ask a question at the ‘Global Influence: What Can We Learn?’ panel on behalf of Career and Technical Education (at about 33:30 minutes).
The aforementioned panel really shed a light on the disparities between different global education systems and why the U.S. isn’t at the same level. They simply place education on the highest of pedestals. Some countries even have children going to school all year long. Obviously my experience with career and technical education and involvement with FBLA-PBL has supplemented my overall education and truly prepared me for the workplace, so that is why I asked what other countries were doing in regards to CTE. I learned that a balance is necessary and an academic and hands-on combination could just be a recipe for success.
I also had the chance to meet some amazing people and hear their views on education, including:
- Lebron James
- First Lady Laura Bush
- Jennifer Garner
- NBC’s own Brian Williams & Tom Brokaw
- Governor Scott Walker (WI)
- Anne Bryant, Executive Director of the National School BoardAssociation
Overall, the conference was amazing and very well put together. We had the chance to be a part of live tapings of NBC productions as audience members. The summit also featured an Innovation Challenge for th
ree teams of students to develop and present their idea
s for new programs. The team that took second place, TruantToday, a program utilizing social media to track tardiness and update parents, were even FBLA members! That just shows how far our great organization reaches!
We had a wonderful dinner at the American Museum of Natural History and heard some more speakers. Before leaving on our last day, we were able to get a picture with the closing speaker, President Bill Clinton! He was very interested in us as students and our student organizations (SkillsUSA, DECA, and FBLA-PBL).
This conference was the chance of a lifetime for me and my very first time in the Big Apple! I am very honored to have had the opportunity to not only represent FBLA-PBL at the national level, but to be able to put education in the spotlight and have my voice heard as a student!