April 7, 2010
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Metro State president speaks to leaders of tomorrow
(l to r) OpenWorld Learning CEO Barbara Youmans, 7News anchor Christine Chang, President Stephen Jordan and Luis, a 5th grader from Creekside Elementary.
Cesar, a 4th grader at Richard Castro Elementary School, believes leaders should be "be nice and have pride." He was among 40 students to be paired with Colorado community and business leaders at the OpenWorld Learning Leadership Brunch held Friday, April 2, at the Phipps Mansion in Denver.
OpenWorld is a nonprofit organization that supports children's school success by tapping the power of digital technology and peer teaching to develop leadership and ignite a love of learning.
The brunch, which featured a keynote speech by Metropolitan State College of Denver President Stephen Jordan, was part of the organization's first youth leadership symposium, and provided an opportunity for today's Colorado leaders to interact with 40 of the leaders of tomorrow.
To qualify for a space at the symposium, the 3rd through 8th grade students wrote essays on their knowledge of leadership and who their role model is in the state of Colorado. In addition to qualifying to attend the symposium, Luis, the winner of the essay contest, won a $250 starter scholarship fund from College Invest, and had the opportunity to read his essay at the brunch.
"I like computers because I can do things that I can't do without a computer," read Luis, a 5th grader from Creekside Elementary in Boulder, who was partnered with President Jordan. "I want to be a student leader and help other students."
For his presentation, Jordan focused on "noblesse oblige." Often used to refer to how your privilege or station in life dictates your responsibilities and obligations, Jordan used the French phrase to explain to the students their responsibility as leaders.
Jordan, who has mentors he calls on to this day, said, "Leaders are always mentors. As leaders you must mentor and be mentored at the same time, and remember to respect someone while you help them."
He also shared with them that wherever leaders go, they bring a gift of "hope, support and sincerity."
Business leaders, partnered with students at the brunch, were happy to share their expertise with the youth, and impressed with OpenWorld's efforts.
Daniel Webb, with the JDW Social Education Program, volunteered services to help students with social skills. "Table manners are important, but first impressions are also important. Studies have reported that 85 percent of getting and keeping a job is your social skills."
Laura Kesner, with Douglas Country Government Information Technology, was "excited about OpenWorld Learning taking this extra step to educate tomorrow's leaders."
Barbara Youmans, chief executive officer of OpenWorld Learning, explained that during the year-round program, students learn a number of skills that will benefit them in the future. She pointed out one example when she asked the adults in the audience, "How many of you know how to program a computer?" Virtually no hands went up. When she posed the same question to the students, all of their hands went up.
The College first began its partnership on projects with OpenWorld in 2007, through a public service announcement with Univision Colorado saluting OpenWorld. As the partnership continues this summer, faculty from the Departments of Computer Information Systems and Mathematical and Computer Sciences will participate in the organization's Colorado TechFair at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on May 15.
Metro State also plans to hosts summer camps for OpenWorld to continue training students in different technologies.