One presentation in particular stood out from the others at the Virginia Association of Independent Schools' Festival of the Arts Conference last month. It was not due to the subject matter, or the workshops, but rather, the presenters. Avery Munn '20 and Lelia Ottinger ’20 were among the group of educators and students from across Virginia to attend the one-day conference. However, they were the only students to present.
Both Literacy Fellows in the Batten Leadership Program, Avery and Lelia sought out the opportunity to present at the conference. They applied for the chance to present, and were selected by VAIS. The two devised a presentation, “So You Want to Change the World?” which focused on understanding your community by identifying a city-wide problem to solve, was one hour long and included a writing exercise. The students used Norfolk as their community, focusing on its struggles with income mobility. They described how literacy has allowed them to identify and understand this problem.
Cooper Library Director Ms. Elizabeth Johnson and Upper School English teacher Dr. David Kidd attended the conference with Avery and Lelia. The two educators—who also serve as co-directors of the Literary Fellows—were impressed by their students’ initiative to present and conduct the writing exercise.
“They did a really good job presenting,” said Ms. Johnson. “It is really tough to lead a breakout at a conference, and they did so with ease.”