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The Independent project

Check out The Independent Project's video. It will be 15 minutes you won't regret.

In the age of Facebook and Twitter feeds, most of us have developed a certain survival mechanism around selecting which pieces of media we consume. I mean by this, that since we simply can't read every article, watch every video or listen to every song that pops up on our Facebook feeds or on our favourite blogs, that we learn how to make quick judgments. Watch this. Skip that. And so on.

When I came across this video, on a friend's Facebook wall, about a project by a group of high school students in Massachusetts, I almost chose to skip it. 15 minutes seemed kind of long. But I liked the name of the project and was pulled in by the simple caption that accompanies the video: This year, I was part of a pilot program at my public school. So I watched.

The Independent Project is an experiment in non-formal education run inside one of the most formal educational environments anywhere: an American public high school. The story is quite simple. A group of 15 to 17 year-old students got fed up at school. They didn't feel challenged or creatively stimulated, and they knew their peers felt the same way. But rather than resigning themselves to a rhythmic, passive life of just showing up, they did something about it. They created their own school within a school: an alternative, student-driven learning programme that would bring back the creativity, curiosity, and love for learning they had been missing.

I watched this 15-minute video in what felt like five. To me, these students and their project embody two important ideas that resonate with Mosaic. Firstly, the have embraced the idea that creating meaningful change begins in the most local of communities (in this case, the micro-community of a public school). Second, they understand that being young people does not mean waiting to be "leaders of tomorrow", but instead taking transformative action today.
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