Each year, the Boston Prep Parent Committee hosts a Town Hall, an event designed to bring together families, students, faculty and members of the greater community for meaningful dialogue about issues that impact the community and the world in which we live. This year’s Town Hall theme was “Celebrating Everyday Excellence.” Parent Committee organizer Jen Walter explained, “We wanted to shine a spotlight on individuals who work diligently everyday to achieve excellence and positively impact and change the world that we live in.” Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell and entrepreneur, community organizer, and candidate for state representative Liz Miranda served as the featured guests.
Following a shared community dinner, students, families, and faculty listened as Andrea Campbell opened with the story of her personal journey to public service. A lifetime resident of Boston, Campbell lost her twin brother at the age of 29. Her brother had been in and out of the criminal justice system for much of his adult life, became sick while incarcerated, and quickly deteriorated. Campbell was wracked with grief and anger. It was then that she found her calling to public service, turning her anger into action and building a platform on criminal justice reform.
Campbell spoke with students and families about how they too can make powerful and meaningful change in their communities. She encouraged civic engagement through voting and encouraging others to vote. Student Yamilett Lopez, a member of the Student Senate, asked about how to best bring about engagement and change on a smaller scale, such as within the school community. In response, Campbell encouraged students to think about the power of dialogue, such as the one they were in engaging in with her. “Solicit feedback. Allow people to put forth their ideas. Give people a voice, and then - this part is important - listen.” Campbell went on to point out that change starts small. If we keep working for small changes within our local community, those will grow and amplify, and that is how we will achieve broader change.
Liz Miranda spoke personally with many students and families about their passions and dreams, conveying that if we connect with others with similar goals and interests, our power is together multiplied. As students shared their passions, Miranda provided them with resources that are available throughout the city of Boston, places where they can connect with others and further their learning and engagement.
Campbell left students with works of advice her father had once shared with her. “You have to make the honor roll in school. But you also have to make honor roll in your home, on the street, and in the world.”
At the end of the evening, the message from these two shining examples of “everyday excellence” was clear to all in attendance: Be yourself. You’re amazing. But work hard, everyday, to be your very best self.