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PPS Bezos Scholars Plan Local Ideas Festival for April

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PPS Bezos Scholars Plan Local Ideas Festival for April
Posted on 12/06/2017
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A Portland Public Schools student and educator who have been recognized as 2017 Bezos Scholars are using a $1,000 seed grant they received to hold a Local Ideas Festival/Multicultural Youth Summit in April.

Deering High School Make It Happen! student Mulki Hagi and her mentor, Make It Happen! Site Coordinator Danielle Wong, were one of 12 student-teacher pairs nationwide admitted into the Bezos Scholars Program last spring. As Bezos Scholars, the students and educators participate in a year-long leadership development program, which started last summer at the Aspen Ideas Festival, in Aspen, Colo. Their year of leadership development culminates next spring when each student and educator team designs and executes a local community change project.

Each team received a $1,000 seed-funding grant award from the Bezos Family Foundation for its project. The projects combine Bezos Scholars’ unique passions with a community need, and are supported and empowered by the Bezos Scholars Program team and their school administration.

Wong said the Aspen Ideas Festival was inspirational because of the amount of knowledge and information being facilitated in one place. “I found the experience to be extremely exciting and useful,” she said. “The interactive sessions covered literally every topic, from global health, cancer, the founding fathers, the opioid epidemic, empathy, reproduction, yoga, art, etc., etc.!”

Mulki said her experience at the festival influenced her as she works to create a Local Ideas Festival called a Multicultural Youth Summit. With assistance from Wong and her team, she is developing the summit, which is scheduled for April 9 at Deering High School. The daylong summit is for Deering students but the plan is also to invite Lincoln Middle School eighth-graders.

The event will include notable guest speakers from the community and TED-style talks presented by students. Mulki said she wants the summit “to help fuel conversations within the school and community that many choose to disregard.” Topics are expected to include the LGBTQ community, Black Lives Matter, food insecurity, addiction, immigration and domestic abuse.

Mulki said she hopes that students leave the summit more educated about such issues and ready to continue the conversations about them at home, among their friends and in the community.

Wong said that being part of the Bezos Scholars Program has been “such an amazing experience that we'll both appreciate for the rest of our lives. I hope it inspires other students to apply to the program as well!”

For more information on the program, go to: https://bezosscholars.org/

Make It Happen! is a program of the Portland Public Schools’ Multilingual & Multicultural Center. It’s a college-readiness and academic success program for language minority students in grades 8 through 12 that is designed to help students raise and realize their academic aspirations.
Mulki Hagi Danielle Wong