Sunday, March 30, 2014

On the Way to Find Out: 3 Young People Exploring their Crafts

In a world that asks you to be many things, wear many hats and play many roles, the power of your own uniqueness is important. As human beings, sensitive to the world around us, we want to connect, but at the heart, we all want to be recognized for who we are: what we bring to the table simply having been born. Whatever it is that animates us uniquely, the spirit of who we are, is our most precious gift. To allow that  to shine fearlessly is our quest. I'd like you to meet 3 young people in our neighborhood, who are making a difference by being themselves, JUST LIKE YOU.

Margot Somers: Age 18, Senior, West Chester East High School, West Chester, PA
Margot is a musician, writer, and all around creative. She has a quick wit and a dedication to developing her craft, exploring many musical genres. 


"Margot, in one sentence: How has the study of music contributed to your development?"

 "Music has given me something to be passionate about and made me realize that the parts of life that truly matter aren't always the standard parts." 

Emily Wilson: Age 19, Freshman, University of Charleston,
Majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Emily is always smiling, has an uplifting personality and an infectious sense of humor. Her Willingness to be vulnerable, and share her sensitivities encourages a level of comfort around others which allows relationships and people  to blossom. She is a Storyteller and singer, writer and appreciator of beauty.

"Emily, Can you give me one sentence on the power of storytelling?"

"Storytelling validates the abstractions that float around in our crazy human brains and creates crucial interpersonal connections."

 RJ Burrell, 23, Philadelphia 76'ers Flight Squad Trick Artist 
RJ is an elite performer for the Philadelphia 76'ers. His Job is to electrify the crowd and he does it with his personality, martial arts, basketball and gymnastic ability, not to mention FEARLESSNESS. Above all else, RJ is kind and hospitable and always willing to lend a helping hand. He truly cares about others and is committed to being an inspiration. He is a bright light.

"RJ, One sentence on the importance and power of what you do as part of the flight squad from your perspective, as it relates to purpose and your personal happiness."

"I believe that if you do what you love you'll never have to work a day in your life. As I glance into the future, I imagine generations to come choosing their occupation based purely on inspiration and love."

*Many Thanks to Margot, Emily and Ron for your Willingness to take part!*

"Well I hit the rowdy road, and many kinds I met there-
Many a story told me how the way to get there-
But on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
There's so much left to know when I'm on the road to find out"
        - Cat Stevens, On the Road to Find Out

24 Personal Insights from Kids and Young Adults ages 3-25

I recently became involved in The  Idealist community, a place where dreamers convene to connect and collaborate. There are job postings on the website, and I found one I was interested in. It came with a unique application process. It asked only  3 open- ended questions, and then asked for a 1-2 minute video which communicates the applicant's vision for the future of education. It also asked for any other additional links the applicant would like them to see. This application invigorated me, but with so much possibility in how to present my ideas, 

I was a little overwhelmed and felt a little stuck. So I decided instead, to listen.

   As a student of Interpersonal Communication, I've learned the importance of listening; of being present. And from my own experience, Ive learned that listening for inspiration, for me, most often comes in silence. At the end of the physical practice of yoga as we lay in savasana, or 'corpse pose" allowing our  minds and bodies to rest, I listen, as Rumi says, to a voice that doesn't use words. In this silence, a few days back, as I rested beside a nine year old girl, who had practiced alongside me, I had the notion that instead of presenting my own insights I'd listen to the kids themselves. I'd ask them each one unique question, and instead of adding my own thoughts to theirs, I'd ask 3 professionals in the field of education each a unique question, regarding inspiration, motivation and learning. 

   I'll begin with our first professional, Jack Ricchiuto, known across the US and globally for his experience as a writer engaged in shifting conversations to new narratives. He teaches groups and individuals to reach their potential. Perhaps the voices of these young people can begin a conversation that might shift the current state of education into a new narrative.

Jack Ricchiuto
 Writer, and Engagement Artisan in Leadership and Professional Development, Entrepreneur

Jack, How do you motivate people?

From my books and writing:
"It's my experience that people are motivated by their own sense of interest and passion. This is strongly supported by the research on internal locus of control that is the foundation for positivity and engagement in organizations, communities and schools.

 I don't meet people motivated by other people's interests and passions unless they resonate or align with theirs. In this sense, intrinsic motivation is a redundancy.

As facilitators, we can create the space for people to discover their intrinsic interest and passion and when we do,  they discover their motivation and are energized by it in sustainable and resilient ways."

Terrence Ives, 23
  Senior, Wilkes University, Business Management
 What do you think helps young people develop most in learning settings? 

  "Autonomous work environment."

Stephanie Trebets, 24
  Cleveland State University, Business Management

In the context of happiness and recognizing your gifts,  abilities and strengths as they relate to your life satisfaction, what part of high school was most beneficial? 

" Hmmm...that's a good question! At Lake we had art done by students displayed all through out the that was a cool way of using talents & showing some color & diversity. 
We also had a forum book published every year with art, poetry, letters, or stories...that was nice because you could read & share things if you wanted but also were able to publish anonymously."

Carmen Centrackio, 19
  Kent State University, Electronic Media Production and Journalism
Question: You knew right off the bat what you wanted to study in college . A lot of kids don't. What opportunities did you have in your schooling that encouraged this certainty in you? "

"Hey Aunt Glo! No problem! We had a lighting and sound club back in high school and I was a part of that. We did a lot of technical and behind scenes work to help out on the plays in the school district. And I also took a journalism class as a freshmen. I was torn between the two, so I combined them. "

"My major is electronic media production. There is journalism behind it becuase my career field is used in the production of news, movies, and tv."

"And sports. That's a HUGE one."

"Well, I played soccer and softball since the age of 6. I wanted to keep that connection. Televising professional sporting events require production specialists to broadcast these events. Audio technicians, camera man (footage filmers), technical directors, and TV graphics are crucial for my career field. There wouldn't be a broadcast if one of those was missing. My dream job is to work for Fox Sports as a live sports audio technician."

Tommy Ives, 5
  Kindergarten, Goshen Friends School, West Chester, Pa
Tommy, what is your favorite thing to learn about and why? 

"I like to learn about the planets and the earth because I'm learning this in school and it's really cool!" 

Lindsey Ives, 21
  Junior, West Virginia University, Psychology and Disability Studies
When researching something that interests you, Are you more energized by getting expected results or unexpected results?

"When researching something, getting the expected is nice but discovering something new is empowering. Getting the results you expect is nice but sometimes it can be dull. When we do research, our goal isn't necessarily to confirm what we know, and we should be just as open to discovering something else, even if it proves our previous belief false. 😢" 

Rosie Orlando, 6
 Kindergarten, St. Mary's School, Mentor, Ohio
What would Happen if Schools stopped having art class?

I'd go crazy?  I'd miss my teacher! 

What would happen if there was no Library class? 
(No hesitation)
I'd go crazier!

Samantha Dewey, 16
Grade 10, The Baldwin School
Samantha, How do you think the study of the sciences and literature informs the work of an artist?"

"I'm still a young artist so I guess I'm not quite sure how they influence me but I know that emotional experiences influence my art because when I'm doing my work I  will connect with feelings which then are translated onto whatever I'm doing. I'm not quite sure how literature and the sciences influence me but I think that they're all connected with art through things like the Fibonacci sequence and writing.  

"Hmm I think that like art, science can be human interpretations where we interpret the things around us in order to understand them. Like black holes, we don't understand them but in order to get some sort of concept we interpret them as funnels of nothingness as a sort of shape which is the same with art, we interpret a hand on a canvas as a square with five different tubes coming off of it. "

Steven Orlando, 25
  Entrepreneur, owner of the start up  NewCell:
For you, what was the most effective learning experience you received in High school? 

"A class taught by actual business owners about business- where the sole purpose was to teach students  the reality of entrepreneurship and the free market. It was a normal class with normal class credits, however, it was taught before school because these business owners needed to head into work."

Avery Ives, 19 
 Freshman, West Virginia University, Fashion Merchandising
When tackling projects, do you think the process or the outcome is more important?
"The outcome"

Dr. Curtis Jack Orr
West Chester University College of Communication Studies, Professor Emeritus, Communication and Leadership Consultant, C Jack Orr and Associates, Taught the Flagship Class, "Inspirational Communication"
 Dr. Curtis Jack Orr's mission is to help students and clients develop economically, socially and spiritually by thinking in new terms about problems and possibilities. 

How do you inspire your students, in a word? 


Brian Orlando, 24
 Senior, Cleveland State  University, Mechanical Engineering Phillips Co-op 
Hi Brian: question: 

What single experience or opportunity or teacher had the biggest effect on your ongoing development as it relates to your goals and dreams for your future? 

In college I had a math (calc 1 and 2) professor that really pushed me to do my best. He would work problems out and really connect on a personal level with his students. He entered me into an honors math society and told me that he thought I would make a great engineer. He had the biggest impact on me educationally. 

 Tina Orlando, 21
 Junior Cleveland State University, Middle Childhood Education (specializing in Math and Science)
What part of college was/ is the most instrumental in supporting or helping to develop a positive approach to your future goals? 

"I would say right now in college, my Methods courses are helping me develop a positive approach to my goals. I'm doing field work, so I get the opportunity to be in the classroom with 7th and 8th grade students. I get to see how they interact with each other educationally and with their teacher. It's funny, all this time I thought my mentor teacher had great classroom control but after hearing from multiple students, I found out that they have a very unhealthy relationship with their teacher. The students don't feel comfortable asking questions in class and their grades suffer because of it. This experience pushes me that much harder to get my teaching license and be the best teacher I can be. I want to have a relationship with my students that help them feel comfortable and confident in my classroom, whether they are comfortable with the material we are learning or not. All through high school, and even as far back as middle school, I feel that my teachers, the good and the bad, have inspired me to teach. I want to make a positive difference in my future students' lives. I want them to want to learn! I want to make my lessons engaging and memorable! It is such a rewarding career if you are in it for the right reasons. So I think the field experiences I am currently going through are motivating me the most."

William Orlando, 9
 Grade 4, St. Mary's  School, Mentor Ohio
What is the Most important thing you have learned in scouts this far? 

Be prepared in case something happens, like if you're camping and your clothes get wet, have extra clothes.

Bobby Ives, 3
 Preschool, Goshen Friends School
When you have free play time at school, what is your favorite thing to do? 

(via his mom) "Bobby says his favorite thing is painting pictures because he likes art, and free time he like the sensory tub and the tool bench"

Tori Orlando, 16
 10th Grade, Lake Catholic High School, Mentor, Ohio
Question: Aside from relationships with your friends, what interactions in school or school sponsored events and activities  have helped you to recognize your own strengths and abilities ? 

"Something that has helped me notice my strengths and abilities is playing Lacrosse. It pushes me to stay fit and healthy. It also helps me meet new people and not be nervous in talking to someone. "

Matthew Morich, 23

 Lakeland Community College, Linguistics

Question: At what point in your college experience did you decide to study linguistics and why?

(to be continued...)

Jessica Morich, 22

  Junior  Cleveland State University, International Relations with a minor in Women and Gender Studies, and a Focus in Latin America,  Assistant House Parent  for International Students at the Andrews School, Willoughby, Ohio

Jessica, From the perspective of one who guides international students as they navigate education in a foreign country, what do you think the most beneficial experiences outside of the classroom are for them, ( in regards to their development)  and how have you benefited from working with them? 

"Honestly, the biggest beneficial experience they have is living and rooming with people of other countries. Some of them have American roommates to help assimilate them. But some have roommates of other countries as well, and they learn just as much from them. In terms of activities, I'd say the day-to-day life stuff. They go shopping or navigate their way through Downtown Willoughby. They play video games on an English server and learn slang and dialects from other players. "

"I've benefited a lot from them, too. They tell me what their homes are like, and it simultaneously makes me grateful for where I'm from and jealous of where they're from."

"My residents are actually what guided my next career step, which is getting my TESOL certification and moving to China to teach English next year. 😊"

Dominic Orlando, 6
 Grade 2, St. Mary's School Mentor, Ohio
Who is your favorite teacher and Why?
I think it's ummmm, hmmmm. I think it's probably Mrs, Seagal
Because she lets us do our homework in school sometimes.

Gary Schoeniger 
 Gary is a lifelong advocate of entrepreneurship education, as well as an entrepreneur and small    business owner himself,  founding The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative after piloting an initial program in NE Ohio.

What's the most surprising thing you have learned from someone you've mentored?

"Overall, I would say it is the ability of ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things by embracing an entrepreneurial mindset. What exactly is an entrepreneurial mindset? Broadly defined, it is the underlying assumption that an individual can empower themselves by solving problems for others."

"One can empower oneself by solving problems for others."

Gary is also a mentor to my nephew Steven Orlando, and taught the High School Free Market class Steven spoke of 

Joey Centrackio, 18
 Senior, West Geauga High School
Hi Joe, it's Aunt Glo! I have a question : As far as taking pride in learning, ( any subject or personal interest) what approach has benefitted you most, and helped you to really recognize your own personal abilities? "

"The hands on approach has has been most beneficial for me during the learning process. I can take in information more accurately if I have an expert in that specific field, with me, explaining it all as we go."

Carrie Orlando, 20
 Lakeland Community College, Undecided
What one word would you use to best describe the part of your high school education that was most beneficial to your sense of self and how it relates to your roles as student and waitress? 

"I don't know if this is considered one word or two, but I'd say. Community- oriented. That's probably what was most beneficial for me for what I'm
Doing with my life right now. "

Andrew Centrackio, 18
 18, Senior, West Geauga High School
Hi Andrew: it's Aunt Glo. Question. How would you characterize the method used by the person who has been most affective in helping you to realize your talents and gifts? 


Gina Centrackio, 14
  8th Grade, West Geauga Middle School
Hi Honey: Question: 
As far as school goes, what part of it supports you most in taking pride in what makes you unique?"

"Hi! That's a good question; probably my friends would support me the most, because we give confidence to each other to be happy and "unique"! :) how come?"

"Because your opinion matters to me. And I'd like to include your answers in a series of questions I'm compiling to see what's important to kids and what 's most beneficial to their reaching their potential." 

Nicholas Orlando, 24
 24, BI Solutions Engineer at TMW Systems and Owner Quick Booth Photo Booths
A question: 
As it relates to your sense of  personal satisfaction in your job setting, what element of your high school experience was most beneficial to your belief in your abilities to develop and innovate? "

"Geez, good question. I'd probably attribute the one or two classes I took on HTML, and web design kind of sparked the creativity side of my job. Other than that, I don't know that I would really attribute much of anything from high school as an influence on my future as it relates to innovation."

Christopher Orlando, 17
 10th grade, Riverside High School
Hi Chris it's Aunt Glo! I have a question for you: 
From a personal or academic standpoint, (you choose) What drives your curiosity the most? And how important is it to your well being? "

"What drives my curiosity the most would have to be the 'what ifs' in life, what if I do this, and this happened? Because everything that has happened, because of the 'what ifs' in life. 

My curiosity is very important to my well being as I couldn't necessarily function without it."

Julia Dewey, 20
 Sophomore,  Brown University, Human Biology 
Hi Julia: Question: As a student of the sciences, what is the importance of art to its study and its potential for developing theories that lead to advancements in medicine, engineering and automation?

"I think art probably has a role in a variety of ways. As a student, I think it's a good way to not only relax from the stress of study, but also to help to visualize processes that are otherwise invisible. In general visualization through art is important now, and has been historically significant for the progress of medicine. The use of art to explain to the general public things that only the privileged few had access to was paramount in getting people to believe things like germ theory and  the efficacy of vaccinations. Also, prior to dissections becoming commonplace, art was a valuable way of learning anatomy. For now, art is a valuable tool for learning about the invisible, as well as a useful treatment or coping mechanism for some types of illnesses. "

A Great Big Thanks to all my Children, nieces and nephews for
 sharing their personal insights with me. I value your 
Contributions! And to our Professionals for sharing their passions with us, and the insights they've gained by simply doing what they love.