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Durfee Leaders Attend Youth Conference

 

Kelsey Rodrigues '15

Staff Reporter

March 22, 2014

 

On Wednesday, March 12, 31 Durfee students attended the 25th Annual YMCA Youth Conference at Bridgewater State University. The event honors young leaders and consists of a selection of workshops that educate students on the struggles and strengths of today’s youth. This is the fourth year Durfee has attended the conference.

 

Students were treated to a presentation from keynote speaker Royale L’Radin. L’Radin is a motivational speaker, scholar of poetry, editor of Parent Magazine, founder of DÉRAPÉ PRODUCTIONS LLC, and a soon-to-be published author. He especially strives to motivate individuals from broken homes and those who have made poor decisions in the past.

 

Following the speech, students dispersed to attend their assigned workshops, ranging from topics from drug and alcohol awareness, to fun fitness promoting zumba classes. This year for the first time in the history of the Conference, a group of students were given the opportunity to lead a workshop.

 

Durfee Students lead a workshop at the YMCA Youth Conference.                                                                                      -Hilltop file Photo 

In a presentation organized by members of Durfee’s Student Government, Nick Raposo, Megan Rockett, Carson Moreira-Rego, Keegan Murphy, Lucas Fernandes, and Julia Karam educated participants about social media awareness, including topics of cyberbullying, sexting, how to handle such situations, and how to be safe online.

 

Following an eye opening exercise where yarn was used to represent the irreversible spread of rumors through social media, students were shown alarming data on the dangers of the internet and their consequences. In another interactive exercise, students were broken into groups and asked to act out and appropriately solve the scenario on the card given to them. The presentation concluded with a short video reinforcing internet safety and responsibility.

 

Workshop evaluations revealed that the workshop was greatly received by students, earning an average score of 4.69 out of 5, with attendees especially relating to their fellow teenage presenters.

 

Caroline Batista, a Durfee junior, called the workshop, “informative but fun,” and enjoyed that while it mainly focused on the dangers of social media, it also explained how it could be used in a positive way.

 

After attending two enriching workshops, students were treated to a buffet lunch in the school’s cafeteria, followed by an activity fair where they met with multiple organizations and colleges who share similar goals of bettering the community and empowering youth leaders.

 

“The overall conference taught you real life situations in a way that we can get involved with each other and have fun while learning,” says Danielle MacDonald, a Durfee senior, “It brought the reality of life right down to a classroom.” MacDonald attended the Social Media Safety seminar and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” which educated on how to be financially responsible.