Not The Selfie Generation, Much More

By Ruth Reyes

@Ummnobodycares

People believe that Millennials are the “selfie” generation. They don’t have time for anything other than their phones, the computer, and social media. They don’t care; they’re not engaged. They coexist with the rest of the world merely to cruise by.

And yet, even as they’re criticized in this way, Millennial students strive to create change.

In an effort to connect with the student body of Miami Dade County Public Schools, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho held a round table meeting at Barbara Goleman Senior High on Friday, Februarys 6th.

With a turnout of over fifteen high schools – and with a infamous reputation – student leaders from all over the district stood up in front of their peers to hold a conversation about their lives, education, and futures.

“My name is Jessica Duque. I’m from Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High, and in forty years I wish to be a activist of coexistence.”

From the activist action of creating change through social media, to the passive order of promoting cleanliness in schools by example  – a broad spectrum of subjects were discussed.

“I believe you are the enlightened generation,” said the Superintendent, as he began the back and forth conversation between himself and the students. “Why? Because you are communicative, you are engaged, you are aware, you are persistent in your ability to ask questions.”

Rather than critique today’s generation for their lack of vocal involvement, Superintendent Carvalho encouraged student of Miami Dade County to embrace technology, social media, and cyber communication to inspire, learn and share.

He supported his message by telling the earlier struggles of his life, the story of his parents, the economic struggles of his home country, and his battle to overcome labels that are given to many young people and adults today – poor, alone, inexperience, immigrant.

“I proudly wear every single label [because] I am the essence of the origin of this country,” said the Superintendent. “ Are we not all immigrant if we go back just a few generations?”

As the conversation flowed, from the arts in public schools to the topic of coexistence, the same message stood out – a healthy social media presence is essential for a Millennials, not only because it’s the way of the future, but because it is the way this generation can inspire change.

“I encourage you, as Alberto Carvalho Superintendent of Schools, I want you to bring your smart device to school. I want you to turn it on; I want you to use it,” he said, after speaking about usage of technology in the classroom and referencing Sunset Senior High. “But use it in a socially responsible and respectful way.”

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