Each summer the Pat Walker Missouri Public Affairs Academy brings talented high school students from throughout the state together to develop their understanding of public affairs. The Academy combines presentations by guest speakers with discussions, activities and service projects, and gives students the opportunity to learn from talented and accomplished political and community leaders in the state.
The MPAA has three main goals:
- To help students understand their role as citizens working “for the greater good”
- To provide a forum for discussion with distinguished speakers including community leaders, government officials, journalists, and university professors
- To provide students with the leadership skills necessary to become actively involved in their communities
The Academy went virtual in 2020
24 rising high school seniors from across the state of Missouri were selected to join the 2020 class via Zoom,Throughout the week (July 13-17), they discussed with community leaders and professors about how Public Affairs can be put to action. Each student developed a Plan for the Greater Good, focused on addressing a personal issue of interest in their communities.
These student leaders developed the following collective commitment:
The class of 2020 is dedicated to bridging the gaps in our society to connect everyone in a united front for change.
Takeaways from the class of 2020
We asked participants to share one take away from heir experience at the Missouri Public Affairs Academy. Here are a few:
- The Academy is so much more than one word. It is an inspiration to all who are in it. And all who are in it are able to go out and inspire others.
- I learned a lot more in depth about what Public Affairs means and how I can connect with my community. It was a great experience to meet all these people. It was a wonderful experience for me.
- MPAA was a lot of different things. Its was very educational. I was glad to meet people from all over Missouri to talk about our commitments.
- The value of meaningful work really stood out to me. Although we weren’t in Springfield, we were working hard to keep each other accountable to create positive change.
- There are many types of leaders – some lead with their voice, some lead by listening. I learned that it’s okay to be a unique type of leader.
- Community. It was refreshing to work with people from across the state a build a new community.
- This week I have come to immerse myself in ways that I did not think would be possible through an online platform. I got comfortable with the uncomfortable and was able to step in my For the Greater Good Project. One phrase I came up for myself: desire to aspire to be someone you can hire. We are able to be part of a greater good.
- The value of empathy is so important.
- There is a lot to say about the Academy. It motivates me to know that there are people like me around the state who want to do good.
- This Academy allowed me to adapt to new situations. I learned what I was able to do with others and how I can use my strengths.
- I am taking away the value of teamwork. Creating change is as much a group thing as an individual thing.
- I will take away the power of listening. I was able to hear from leaders from everywhere and give and take a lot of good feedback. Being respectful and open to others’ opinions this week was really helpful.
- It was interesting to see the broad range of things to be changed in communities, and how we can play a role.
- The Active Citizen Continuum helped me think about where I am in my community and where I want to be.
- Perseverance! As a group, we overcame the barriers that an online platform presents. Even though we were not physically together, we were able to share about each other and our passions.
- I really liked all the speakers. It was awesome to see young people come together to share about addressing issues in their communities.
- I learned the importance of stepping out of your bubble and seeing what you can do to grow your community. Seeing things from a new prospective.