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22 | KNOW • Volume 12 Issue 4 GAE Student Programs Engaged now to shape the future Imagine that you walked into a room where the past, present, and future had converged to exchange ideas. Such a convergence actually took place in Athens, GA during GAE’s 2014 Student Conference. STUDENT CONFERENCE From the event’s onset participants were engaged and inspired. Student members from around the state had an opportunity to connect with fellow future educators as well as hear from current and veteran GAE members. Among the keynote speakers from the first night of the conference were Georgia’s 2015 Teacher of the Year Amanda Miliner, GAE’s President Dr. Sid Chapman, and GAE’s executive director Chris Bauman. Amanda Miliner shared her whirlwind experience in becoming the state’s Teacher of the Year. She explained what it was like to be chosen among her peers and mentors to represent Georgia’s educators. In addition to describing her teaching philosophy, the former Miss Georgia also shared her thoughts about GAE and why the organization is so important for public education. Amanda noted that “We see problems but we don’t just complain – we start thinking ‘Well, what can we do about it? How can we make a difference?’” She continued, “If we work together we can make so much more happen.” Dr. Sid Chapman and Chris Baumann continued with Amanda’s message of working together to make positive change. Dr. Chapman explained to student members the importance of using their collective voice as educators to speak up about injustices concerning public education. “We have lawmakers making laws about education who haven’t set food in a classroom since they themselves were students,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do! People just don’t understand what issues are facing public education…” Chris Baumann closed the evening by encouraging students to stand firmly on what they believe. “Have the courage to act on your idealism!” he declared. “You can make a difference! You are our future… this is where you learn to lead.”


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