For Immediate Release - February 26, 2007

MIDDLE SCHOOLERS SHARE HOPES OF MAKING THEIR MARKS ON THE WORLD

Civic Engagement and the role of Massachusetts' youth in shaping the future highlight State House event

BOSTON- Monday, February 26, 2007 - Dozens of middle school students from across Massachusetts shared their thoughts on how young people can make their marks on the world around them today in the second conversation between the Commonwealth's youth and the administration of Governor Deval Patrick.

The event, run in partnership with the Boston-based media company FableVision, helped kick off Entrepreneurship Week - a national effort to

inspire and encourage young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career choice and to celebrate America's unique culture of inventiveness.

"One of the most exciting commitments Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray have made is to not only listen and talk with the grown-ups in the state but to listen and talk with the youth of our state as well. We're glad you are here," said Ron Bell, director of the governor's Public Liaison Office.

The first discussion of civic engagement with more than 1,000 Massachusetts high school students came during the January 4 Youth Inaugural just hours after Governor Patrick took the oath of office. Today's program drew middle school students from schools in Bedford, Fall River, Groton, Hudson, Lunenburg, Newton, Sheffield, Somerset and Winchester.

"This governor and all of the people who work with him believe that engaging people of every age in a conversation about how we can all work together to improve the lives of all Massachusetts citizens is a top priority," Bell said.

The event also featured a presentation from noted children's book author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds who drew on the themes of his Dot, Ish and The North Star to inspire the young people to "find the spark within" themselves.

"People, particularly young people, can make incredible things happen when they are given an opportunity to unleash their creativity and energy toward a goal", said Reynolds. "Encouraging that entrepreneurial spirit - that spark - is so important."

Reynolds later led the group in creating works of art expressing how they see themselves making their marks.

"When we dare kids to make their mark," said Reynolds, "we learn who they are and just how much they have to offer the communities around them."
 

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