Thursday, March 20, 2008

Edison School Students: Future of Union City and the Nation

On Wednesday, March 19, 2008, I had the pleasure of addressing over 500 students from Thomas A. Edison School in Union City, New Jersey. The event was made possible through the leadership of Principal Alexandria Conti and Assistant Principal Tim Crabbe. Students representing the fifth through eighth grade met in the gym for a presentation titled Social Networking Technology Concerns for Students: Online Communities, Cell Phones, Instant Messaging. After these presentations, I was invited to visit eighth grade classrooms to openly discuss why character is important and to encourage them to support, respect and appreciate themselves and one another.

Social networking technology includes:

  • Instant Messaging, email, voice connection and web cams
  • Online Community websites, such as MySpace and Facebook
  • Media sharing websites, such as YouTube, Picasa and Flickr
  • Cell Phones for voice, text, picture and video sharing

Some of the highlights of the event included:

  • Focusing on what it means to be a student which includes personal responsibility, reaching one’s full potential and achieving greatness by making sacrifices. Students discussed the importance of encouraging one another and avoiding negativity and criticism.
  • Honestly confronting problems at home and school.
  • The importance of working together and being involved with the community including family and friends, church, community organizations and school.
  • Developing personal leadership especially through the quality of character.
  • The use of a Secret Power: "You have the power to change the world by helping each other do what is right."

We then explored the dangers of inappropriate content, including:

  • Misinformation
  • Pictures / Videos
  • Language / Sexting
  • Gangs / Criminal Activity
  • Bullies / Cyberbullying
  • Predators

All students were encouraged to get involved, making "Character: The Heart of the Matter," as inspired by Rachel Scott's Challenge:

    by looking for the Best in Others
    Set Goals—Keep a Journal
    Input Determines Output
    Small Acts of Kindness = Huge Impact
    With Family & Friends

As with all of my presentations, we concluded with a tribute honoring American Military Sacrifices.

Edison School is to be highly commended for this initiative that encourages students to reach their full potential, wisely using the tools of the computer age, helping one another, developing personal character and enhancing a sense of patriotism.

Rachel Joy Scott (3:32) <a HREF="">Play the clip on YouTube</A>


Rachel's Challenge Click here to visit site
Character Education Partnership Click here to visit site
Sacred Honor: Police Officer, Soldier, Patriot Click here to visit site

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