Albion and Marshall Students Unite at Symposium

Over 100 middle school students from Albion and Marshall participated in a symposium hosted by Albion College and led by Starr Commonwealth.

The event, held on January 17th, aimed to help students from the middle schools of both cities to build new and stronger relationships in support of their ongoing education in Marshall.

Derek Allen, Director of Starr’s Global Learning Network, led the facilitation of the one-day event, creating workshops and activities that encouraged youth to meet new friends and socialize.

Derek Quote - 2016 Symposium“We were delighted to welcome over 100 young people to this event. We were able to build on the success of previous symposiums and actually involve past participants in the design and implementation of our activities. At Starr, we have always believed in the greatness of every young person, and through projects like this, we can see very clearly the strengths of the youth from Albion and Marshall. We are thankful to the leadership of the Albion and Marshall school districts for the opportunity to work with their students and we look forward to our next youth symposium,” said Allen.

Joni Parks, Assistant Superintendent at Albion Community Schools, said: “This was an amazing day for all students and staff involved.  The team building activities really changed the awkward climate that we noticed when all the students first arrived today.  The STARR staff has done a great job facilitating interactions that not only break the ice, but set the stage for smooth transitions for all students.  The panel discussions led by student leaders in Marshall High School were a great outlet for students to express their own fears and reservations about the changes presenting themselves next week at the change of the semester.  My students are having a wonderful time and at supper it was evident that some of those walls are being torn down, kids from both schools are sitting together and interacting confidently.  I am sure all of this will help make that first week of school at Marshall Middle School much easier for the students and staff.”

Dr. Randy Davis, Superintendent of Marshall Public Schools, said: “This recent youth symposium on student leadership could not have happened without the ongoing partnership the Marshall Public Schools and Albion Community Schools have had with Starr and Albion College. With less than two weeks to plan, we were able to host over 100 students in grades 6-8 at Albion College for a successful day of coordinated team building experiences and dialogues by Starr. In fact, 20 student leaders at Marshall High School from past youth symposiums volunteered to help make this event a great success. And at the end of the day, the young people participating shared common experiences and found common ground as they prepare to transition into a new middle school learning environment mid-year in Marshall.”

Starr Commonwealth, Albion College, Albion Community Schools and Marshall Public Schools, have worked together over the last three years to help students through the integration of the high school populations. In total, over 400 students have attended the youth symposiums to date.

Starr’s Global Learning Network works to ensure that childcare professionals, clinicians, educators and parents across the world have access to Starr’s highly successful and innovative techniques aimed at bringing out the best in every child, parent, adult and community. More information is available at www.starr.org/training.

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