We traveled to Orlando, Florida, at the end of April to present a workshop at the National Migrant Education Conference. Our workshop was titled “The Healing Power of Personal Stories.” Six of us from the middle schools shared our stories and talked to the 60 attendees about our Migrant Leaders Club, our book project, and how others can replicate what we’ve done in Mount Vernon. Can you believe that we received all “Excellents” on the 50+ evaluations we received? Many people came up to us afterward and told us that our workshop was their favorite from the whole conference. We sold 87 books in four hours that day and signed many, many autographs. (When we got home, we received orders for 240 more books and an invite to be keynote speakers at the state migrant conference in Kentucky in September!)
Our success at the conference was definitely the highlight of the trip, but we managed to squeeze in some fun too! On our first day we went to the Kennedy Space Center out near Cape Canaveral, where we watched a 3-D IMAX movie about the International Space Station and went on a simulator of what it feels like to take off in a space shuttle. Then we headed to Cocoa Beach on the Atlantic Ocean and body surfed until one of us tried to pick up a giant jellyfish – ouch! We finished our day at the University of Central Florida where we met several new graduates still in their caps and gowns.
We spent our second day at Univeral Orlando riding roller coasters and enjoying the water rides. We took a short break to have a BIG lunch and a really special VIP tour at Hard Rock Cafe thanks to Ms. Blackmore’s college friend who is a lawyer there. The third day we spent at the conference. At our workshop, we met up with one of our Mount Vernon parents who was attending the conference as a resprestative of our state’s migrant parent advisory committee. He accompanied us to the home of another friend where we swam in her pool and watched an impressive rain and lightening storm from her screened back porch. We did so much during our four days in Florida, and still managed to find time to swim in our hotel pools and try several kinds of new food – Cuban, Thai, Friendly’s, and some really bad Florida Tex-Mex.
Overall the trip was amazing. Back in March, when one of us had the idea to raise money to attend the conference, we never really imagined that it would happen, but we are realizing more and more every day that many doors will open for us if we just dream it is possible.
Check the photo gallery for pictures coming soon!