Lana Learn hosted a guest speaker who aided in shaping student perspectives and enriching their vision for the future.
Guest speakers can play a pivotal role in shaping student perspectives and enriching their vision for the future. Recently, Lana’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program had the privilege of hosting Shaun Taylor as a guest speaker at Cardozo High School. A former Lana Learn program manager, his insights and experiences were invaluable for the program participants. Mr. Taylor was the perfect choice for a speaker because he has much in common with our students. He is from the DMV – the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Additionally, he is a former college athlete, entrepreneur, and podcaster, all things we have heard the students express interest in.
Mr. Taylor started by laying the foundation for what he was going to talk about, something he says is always important when talking to a group of students.
He aimed to do 3 things:
- Tell the students who he is
- Tell the students who he thinks they are
- Have the students tell him who they are
Who is Shaun Taylor?
Mr. Taylor told the students about key moments in his life such as making the decision between a full scholarship to play D2 basketball or the potential chance to play D1 basketball. He shared his experience with losing his mom during his freshman year of college. And finally, he told students about finding out he was adopted. He explained to the students how each of those events helped him become who is he today by reminding him to concentrate on the things that were most important to him.
Who does he think the students are?
Mr. Taylor then asked the students if anyone has ever called their generation lazy or uneducated, to which there was a resounding “yes.” He combatted some common assumptions about Gen Z by citing a study by the Pew Research Center which found that members of Gen Z are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation. Furthermore, they are on track to be the most well-educated generation.
Who are the students?
He then asked the students to tell him who they are. The students hesitated, which led Mr. Taylor into the moral of the talk. Now is the time when the students should start figuring out who they are and what they want to do. Now is the time to tell the whole world their dreams. To do this, Mr. Taylor taught them about mission statements. He said that every single one of them should have a personal mission statement with which to center their decisions and actions around. With a mission statement guiding them, they will accomplish their goals and dreams.
We were grateful for the opportunity to host Mr. Taylor and hope that his visit will serve as a catalyst for growth in our students.