First Grade celebrates changemakers close to home
The first event was a panel organized by the classroom teachers along with parents Allyson Haas and Tiffany Sani, who brought together a stellar panel of role models — their fellow parents. First Graders crowded around and took turns eagerly asking questions and listening to the experiences of the panelists: inventor and biotech executive Marcos Sedghi, surgeon and entrepreneur Sandy Heck, OGBYN Layne Kumetz (Knott), LA County Deputy District Attorney Brenda Lee, and actor John Cho.
One by one, each changemaker revealed the challenges and opportunities that they had faced throughout their lives, giving advice to the students on how to first discover and then pursue their own passions. The sheer breadth of experiences brought to the table by these parents highlighted seemingly endless possibilities for the students, encouraging them to think beyond the boundaries of what has been and instead into the ever-expanding universe of what could be.
Resilience was also high on the list of topics explored by the changemakers, each of them with their own stories of how none of their journey had come easily. "None of us thought that this was possible," said Sedghi, speaking of the medication-free pain management device that he eventually brought to market. "I heard 'no' a lot," shared Cho, speaking of breaking through in an industry were very few people looked like him.
The following week, the First Graders took a turn stepping into the shoes of a historical changemaker they admired. From George Washington to Rosa Parks to Jackie Robinson, the students acted as museum representatives answering questions about the lives of their changemakers. Kudos to the students, faculty, and families of First Grade for making this lesson truly come alive!