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Emerging New Mentors

What happens when a determined student schools adults?

June is the season of graduations and a milestone time of transitions. Many of our DreamBox learners are moving on from elementary classrooms into the new social and intellectual world of middle school. With the tools of earlier learning under their belts, our middle school students now step from 8th grade into high school––where who they will be and what they will stand for begins to really find its form.

The tables are turning. The next generation of leaders is rising in secondary schools across many nations. Their energy is high and their voices are fierce for justice and wellbeing. These students are now schooling adults all around them on the most pressing issues of our time and their futures.

One young lady in particular has taken action and spoken out on the critical issue of climate change. Her global impact has been phenomenal. Adults worldwide are listening to, learning from, and being inspired by her. Hundreds of thousands of students internationally have joined her activism and merged their voices with hers.

Educators and parents everywhere, meet your new instructor. She is a taciturn trailblazing 16-year old girl from Stockholm, with a penetrating manner and message that command respect. Her name is Greta Thunberg.

Greta began studying climate change at school in her native Sweden when she was 11 years old. She was stunned, shocked, and then filled with despair by the facts. What did the future hold for her generation? At 15, she decided to stand up and make adults hear and act on the science research conclusions––and solutions.

Greta loves classroom study. But she chose to act with a schoolwork strike every Friday. She spent those Fridays on the steps of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, carrying a sign that said “School Strike for Climate.” She took to social media to plead with politicians to take action. Students in 133 countries now join her weekly school walkouts in the #FridaysForFuture movement. Her Twitter following has reached 612,000. The whole world is paying attention.

“If a few children can make headlines by not going to school for a day, think of what we could all do if we work together,” Greta has said. “We do need hope, of course we do. But look for action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.”

The legendary singer and songwriter Cat Stevens once asked in a lyric:

Oh very young, what will you leave us this time?

With students like Greta Thunberg in the lead, this generation of very young will leave a world sustained, thriving, learning, and growing for generations to come. Greta gave a TED talk on climate change in Stockholm in December 2018, when she was 15 years old (yes, you read that right.) Prepare to be amazed, and educated. Here it is!

Read Greta’s TIME article here!

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