Congress Opening & Keynote Winston Blake

Winston Blake: “How are the Children?  Are the Children Well?”

In this memorable keynote, Winston Blake began by sharing a Maasai greeting and response which conveys, “When the children are well, peace prevails.” He devoted his address to exploring how mindset of an educator is critical: “those who are responsible for teaching the children need to be well also.”

Using a combination of images, visualization, videos, quotations, and anecdotes, Winston encouraged educators to choose Strength, Responsibility, and Commitment over fear and resignation as they face the challenges of empowering students in rural settings.   Blake shared a litany of examples of people achieving great things for themselves and others, against great odds.  Some stories are from his own life as a Jamaican immigrant to Canada.

Blake’s stories reveal a challenging truth: to meet the complex, holistic needs of diverse youth in this historical moment, educators need to have the strength and humility to change themselves, to “leave the known and venture into the unknown.”  Using a variety of examples, Blake revealed how “when we adopt modes of fear and defensiveness, we put ourselves at greater risk.”   When we “liberate ourselves from fear,” we can respond to our commitments to our students and communities in ways that “send out ripples of hope.”

Thank you to Winston for this passionate, inspiring vote of confidence in educators’ potential.