Having been involved in amateur theatrics in my youth, I must admit I am partial to stage performances of any kind. But even those who do not share my taste for thespian activities were visibly impressed by the performance of a group of young people at the WISE KIDS - WISP conference.
Half-way through the day in Swansea, pupils from Ysgol Preseli put on a dramatised presentation reflecting what it means to be young and live their lives through a virtual world, which is as real as the offline world. If any adult hoped to inspire the next generation at this conference by pontificating about their digital expertise, they were met with a pleasant surprise in realising the power to inspire lies with young people.
Call me hormonal, drama queen, OTT, or whatever, but by the time the kids finished presenting, my eyes were moist with emotion. What passion, what confidence, what honesty. Qualities we, as adults, tend to lose, or forget, as we grow older.
And yet, Ysgol Preseli's assistant head teacher Dafydd Hughes
, who developed the content of the performance, refused to claim any credit for its success. Talking to WISE KIDS' Sangeet Bhullar in an interview, Dafydd Hughes
said the ideas and inspiration came from the young people themselves, from things they had been talking about weekly in school. His task, Hughes said, was to made sure it became a vehicle for them "to express their true feelings".
Indeed, only a performance that came from the heart could have moved so many others.
The star performanceTheir performance, which took the audience by storm, beautifully captured the essence of what Young People in a Digital World was all about. It was played in English in Swansea and in Welsh in Bangor. Share my excitement by watching these videos, and leave me a comment if you too were touched by them:
- "We are embracing change and we are recognising the opportunities and the challenges which are linked to this developing digital age."
- "What's been great is how the young people have responded so positively to what's been said. They feel at last people are listening, and people are recognising that there are massive opportunities for them."
- "This is the new rock'n roll for them, isn't it?"
- "We need to support and embrace it.[...] That's the key to moving forward."
- "If we don't [support them] we're going to be holding them back and stopping them from developing the skills they need to survive in this world in future..."
- "The world of youth. Where we are free to say what we want.[..] Here we can hide in the cloak of anonymity. We are invisible, unbeatable. Here no one can touch us. As we travel full speed to the future."
English version (9min 34sec):
Before the performance started, media student Lowri Fflur, from Trinity University College Carmarthen went backstage to talk (in Welsh) to two pupils from the drama group from Ysgol Preseli for some behind-the-scene stories.