Jan 12, 2007

JUA 2006 Slideshow

Congratulations Juniors on completing the Junior Urban Adventure.

Paul Graham, a Blogger and internet start-up guru, wrote in his critique of mainstream education, that teenagers in today’s society are seen as useless except as workers in the fast food industry or as the target audience for consumer goods.

My passionate disagreement with this statement is embodied in the Junior Urban Adventure. As we saw in the slideshow at the beginning of the JUA big ideas emerge when young people find their voices. New industries, new hopes, new awareness, new power – this is what teenagers are useful for. Indeed I believe we would be lost if not for the work you are about to do in your lives.

It is our hope that through this small experience you have gained some tools for your tool kit that will serve well in the future.

If you never use a blog again, or never write an essay again – that doesn’t really matter.

Those aren’t the kinds of tools I’m talking about.

Curiosity, recognizing when you are being lied to, the refusal to accept someone else’s answer as good enough, the boldness to ask a question, the ability to communicate what you believe to other people. This, I hope, is in some small way what the JUA is about.

I was speaking with a junior the other night discussing politics. As we talked about our simultaneous hope and nervousness for the future he said, “When I turn 18 I’m going to run, not walk, to the voting booth.”

I believe that this junior class will be ready for that step and for many other steps like it.


Dave said...

Do you disagree with the idea that teens are seen as useless and as a consumer group, or with idea that they actually are that way.

My bet is that anyone with his viewpoint would rejoice to learn of the JUA, but simultaneously lament the rarity of this kind of opportunity for exploration and initiative being given to students.

Hans Mundahl said...

Right, there are too few opportunities for young people to do real work based on what they care about that makes a positive difference.