Mount Madonna School fifth-grader Aidan Rassech, of Gilroy, was to walk the red carpet at the Forum in Inglewood April 25 after being selected to participate in California WE Day, an annual event that brings together bright, young minds from all over.
Rassech was part of a group that shared an environmental project about sea otters with other youth innovators in attendance.
“This is especially exciting because the WE organization has chosen our student project to be highlighted on stage,” MMS teacher Jessica Cambell said. “They asked for a student representative, and the class chose Aidan to be our spokesperson.”
This is the second consecutive year a MMS fifth-grade class has been invited. In 2018, the school’s fifth- and ninth-grade classes were both chosen due to their projects aimed at protecting humpback whales and reducing plastics pollution, respectively. The effort is particularly sweet for these elementary students, as WE Days are primarily attended by high school students, according to MMS.
At the April 25 event, distinguished environmentalists and activist guest speakers were to take to the stage alongside A-list performers to empower and honor thousands of youth, including the Mount Madonna School students. The student projects have helped to transform communities and change lives locally, nationally and around the world, according to MMS.
“I am looking forward to traveling to WE Day and seeing the celebrities that will be there,” said fifth-grader Cora Kayne. “I am really excited to see Aidan share about our project on stage.”
WE Day, and the multi-faceted WE organization (we.org) was started more than 20 years ago by Craig and Marc Kielburger, who set out to work with developing communities to free children and their families from poverty and exploitation.
A total of 19 stadium-size WE Day events will be held in 2018-19, in cities across the United States, Canada, the UK and the Caribbean. The California event will be filmed for a one-hour national televised broadcast special airing on ABC on Aug.t 9.
Among those scheduled to appear at the California WE Day are actors Neil Patrick Harris, Mahershala Ali and Natalie Portman as well as musicians Meghan Trainor, Chance the Rapper, Pentatonix and Joe Jonas.
Throughout the year-long WE Schools program, schools and groups take on one local and one global action and report back on their results to potentially earn a coveted invitation to WE Day.
“I want our students to know they really can create positive change in the world,” Cambell said. “If something fun like WE Day ignites that spark and helps to fuel their passion of caring for the broader community, I’m all for it.”