Night of the Notables was something that I have never experienced before. Never have I done a project like this and nor was it given an entire night to be presented. This was something out of the blue. Almost a months worth of  blood, sweat and (many) tears of TALONS students (and wonderful teachers) was poured into this night. From the time I woke up to when I walked out of the school I was buzzing. Unsure if it was nerves or excitement, I seemed to have a lot of energy for a Wednesday.

Night of the Notables was phenomenal. A major success and definitely something to write home about. I’m happy and confident with my speech and learning centre, and was truly amazed by everyone else’s. So what did I do for my learning centre?

For the first couple of weeks I did struggle with trying to figure out what to do for my learning centre. My questions were like the following: “What IS a learning centre??” (double question marks for emphasis) “How much space should it take up?” “What should the interactive part be?” and finally, “Does Mr. Jackson really hate tri-folds?”

At first, I thought of having Gloria Steinem paper dolls and you could dress her according to whichever era you chose (Playboy Bunny Gloria, 60’s Mod Gloria or 70’s-hair-in-her-face-and-aviators-Gloria). I also have the idea of having a cardboard cut-out of Gloria where you could take a selfie with her. This idea ceased to exist due to the lack of a (very) high resolution photo of Gloria, printing abilities and surprisingly not the cardboard part. Fun fact about myself, I am the owner of a Niall Horan cardboard cut out. If you don’t know who Niall Horan is, he is a member of One Direction and I received the glorious cut out for Christmas when I was twelve so although my One Direction phase is over, he does come in handy for school projects. I also had the idea of a photobooth as an interactive part to my learning centre. The idea came when I was looking at photos taken of her and I realized that every story Gloria decided to write, every march she took part in and every speech she wrote was part of a plan to create change and make a difference. She knew that the photos she posed for could be controversial but it was what she stood for and thats why she did it and I think that’s pretty awesome. Aside from getting too deep into this and talking about my One direction phase, here is my learning centre!

From a distance

From a distance

closer up

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Simple but effective. Being honest, my learning centre outcome wasn’t what I dreamed of, but then again if the dream were a reality, I probably would have had to reconstruct the building, have a lot of money, and ten workers to help finish the job. I didn’t want to add much to my learning centre as I was the main source of information, and I enjoyed telling people about Gloria, so the lack of information solely on Gloria kinda forced the viewer to talk to me and ask me questions. Among the five hanging boards I had, one had just Gloria Steinem’s name on it and various photos of her from all points of her life. Most people were surprised to know that she’s still alive today (80 years old and still going strong). The board below it had the definitions of feminism and a feminist. I put these up because some people may not know what feminism is, what it means, and what it means to be a feminist. Feminism solely comes down to it’s definition: The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. You don’t have to be a hairy, man-hating lesbian to be a feminist (although you could if you really wanted to). Yes, feminism can and sometimes does go beyond the definition but it all roots back to the the theory. To the board to the right, I had quotes of Gloria just to give people inspiration and to get a better sense of what she thought. A favourite one of many is “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”.  On the opposite side, I have a “Feminists of Today” display featuring four popular women in the media who have come out as feminists and they included Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Emma Watson. I noticed that many were surprised to see Taylor Swift up there. Taylor has always been thrown backlash for her song subjects and “multiple boyfriends” however she has come out saying that it’s a double standard for her to be judged like that as other male artists like Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars’ entire careers are based upon their songs which are mainly about their love lives. Beside the photos of the women, I added quotes by them,  of them speaking of feminism or straight up saying that they’re a feminist. Lastly, my interactive part of the centre. On the opposite wall I had blank board with the question of “What do you believe in?” and under it “What would you fight for? What would you march for?” A very opened-ended question, I got the people the write their answers on post-it notes and post them on to the wall. The answers I got were well said.

As well, I had the opportunity of going up on stage and becoming Banksy! Lyle, whose eminent person was Banksy couldn’t make it to Night of the Notables so he asked me to go up and act out his speech. It was figured out to that he would record his voice, and I on stage would have most of my face covered as Banksy is anonymous. It looked like I was speaking but in reality I was just waving my arms around and pretending to spray paint.

 

I dressed in all black and wore the baggiest clothes I owned. The minutes leading down to the seconds that I was going to go up on stage I was terrified. However once I stepped onto the stage with the lights on me, I felt like I was in a free fall. In a good way. As in I felt weightless, like I could do anything there and it truly is a great feeling. My favourite thing about that entire experience was at my learning centre, I would be talking to people and they would look at me, then look a bit closer and suddenly it hit them and quietly they would ask me “Was that you up there?” and I would whisper quietly that yes, it was me but that must be a secret so shhh.

Once the speeches ended, I have never seen so many kids sprint all at once in my life. Literally both TALONS classes sprinted across the school and to our learning centres before the parents, and for an odd reason it was a rush and something I’ll certainly remember from that night.

Parents, alumni, extended families and some teachers eventually made their way to my end of the school. I told Gloria’s story and a bit about the project, but what surprised me the most was that people who knew about feminism, were feminists or just had an opinion actually had conversations with me about the premise of it. For example I had a conversation with I think were two alumni who are attending SFU and we talked about Beyonce and feminism, to what’s happening on the campus, feminism on social media, the trend of #idontneedfeminismbecause and where we think Gloria stands on todatoday’sinism. I also had a conversation with one of the vice principals about the connection between Gloria Steinem and her feminism to Taylor Swift’s feminism and if the way that Beyonce dresses on stage is feminist or objectifying. It was awesome talking to people about something that I am passionate about and being able to hear their voices on the subject (Did I mention that after the conversation, the VP told me that he was “impressed” and “well done” MAJOR confidence boost after that).

9:30 struck and it was time for take down. It went surprisingly fast or at least felt like it and afterwards we gathered in the TALONS classroom to talk and take multiple selfies. I think we are selfie dynasty, because most photos on my phone are group selfies and we tend to take them everywhere. Here are a few of my favourites from that night :)

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And that’s a wrap! Night of the Notables finished with a few words and some shooting stars.

Quick thanks to Mira and Andrea, our project managers for keeping us all on track (most of the time) it isn’t an easy thing to do.

The wonderful Jamie for problem solving together about the whole banksy speech and set up incident.

And lastly to the amazing JAM squad. You gave us the guidance and encouragement leading up to this night and we all really were shooting stars. You helped make that happen.

 

To eminent 2015,

I already have plans for next year. See you then.