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I've Been Illuminated

Hi everyone! My name is Marissa and I am a grade 9 student at Pickering High School. A fun fact about me is that I just finished my NLS course and I am hoping to work as a lifeguard next summer! Today, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Illuminate x Durham regional conference and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire event. I had so much fun with the case study this week. My team and I held a zoom meeting every day this week for around 3 hours and we worked very hard with researching and practicing. During the conference, I found the guest speakers to be incredibly inspirational. One speech that particularly stood out to me today was that of Ilona Daugherty’s. To have an adult tell you that your voice not only matters, but is also needed in the world is something truly empowering and memorable. I knew that young people’s voices were important, but I felt that she opened my eyes wider. She explained it on a scientific level too; that even though it is in fact true that our brains don’t fully mature until we are in our twenties and we do gain many good parts by then, we also lose some parts as we grow older too. The voices, opinions, thoughts and ideas of young people are so important because we have parts that adults don’t have anymore and so we are able to see the world through a different perspective and think of ideas that an adult would never think of. Ideas that could change the world. It was also interesting how she explained that we spend our whole youth rehearsing to become an adult. I couldn’t agree more with that statement. In kindergarten we are being prepared for elementary school. In elementary school we are being prepared for high school. In high school we are being prepared for post-secondary. Whilst preparation is indeed critical, it can be hard to separate preparation from living in the moment and being a kid. I left the conference today feeling inspired, heard, empowered and ready to make change. I am so thankful for this experience. Thank you Illuminate!