Elevating Student Voice Through Senior Talks
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Elevating Student Voice Through Senior Talks

>>Student: Luckily, I have
always had an artsy side and, so, I continue to explore other
outlets and interests.>>Darling-Hammond: The most important
thing from an educator’s perspective is to create opportunities for
teachers to know children well and understand what they’re
experiencing. So, we need a school environment in
which the children are being listened to and their experiences are
being lifted up and sought out. The more we allow rich experiences
and affirming relationships to be part of the educational environment,
the more people’s brains grow.>>Student: The last for years
have been highs and lows.>>Brown: Senior talks are one of my favorite traditions
here at Codman Academy.>>Our students get up on stage and talk about who they are and
how they developed. You talk about the ways in which you as
a student have grown over time at Codman and explain why you should
be ready to graduate.>>Javaun: The three most important
parts of my life is, number one, family; number two, friends; and,
number three, basketball. Basketball has kept me from making
poor choices, like skipping school–>>I would go through some challenges,
but when I play basketball all I think about is all the new people I’m meeting
and the new experience I’m having.>>I’ve learned that dedication
and collaboration are crucial. I keep pushing forward to make everyone
in my family proud, especially my mom.>>Darling-Hammond: Particularly in a
diverse society like the United States, a good environment is a culturally
competent one in which the experiences that children bring from
different backgrounds are respected and acknowledged and
supported and shared so that people understand each other
and how they experience the world.>>Sheriaha: Honestly, I can say I
have lived a pretty decent life. I have love from my family and,
most importantly, I love myself. Sadly, great times do not last forever.>>It felt like you’re
writing a diary entry, like, you’re just pouring everything out.>>I did not want to feel the pain alone so I made sure everyone
else felt it, too.>>It felt good to look back and
know this was what was stopping me and this was what made
me act out in school.>>I started to realize that no one had
my back and supported me like my mother. I am glad I went through
what I went through. You hate every second of the
pain you have to deal with, but when you look back
you become grateful for it because your experiences, good or
bad, shape you into who you are.>>I let go of the pain.
Yeah. I let go of the pain.>>My advice to the community is
do not let anything that is meant to tear you down, tear you down. Do not give the past the key
to your future. Thank you.>>Brown: It is not enough to say,
“This is what’s hard about the world.” We need to educate our children to
go and change things in the world.>>Javaun: I think I’m walking away
from this experience with the ability to share more and be vulnerable.>>Brown: We want our students
to be able to explain the ways in which their journey has helped
them be comfortable in who they are, confident about who they are, so
that when the world comes for them, they are ready to also
come to the world.

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