I arrived at the Embassy Suites at 7:00 am on March 12, 2014. There were many well-dressed adults and MSEL students walking around the large event room with white table clothed tables and many projects and posters relating to MarinSEL. As I walked around the room, introducing myself to different adults throughout the room and discussing different aspects of MarinSEL, there was only one thought on my mind: Where is the food?! I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and it was called the Business Leaders Breakfast, so my hopes were set pretty high. Eventually, after it felt like I had made small talk with everyone in the room, plates began to appear around the room with fruit, eggs, ham, muffins and potatoes. I sat down at my assigned table, began to eat, and talked to some of the adults at my table. Breakfast had been served, Bon Appetit!
As I was eating, Cyane Dandridge of Strategic Energy Innovations and lead MSEL teacher Mr. Madsen presented the overview of the MarinSEL program and presented the student-selected Vision in Action award to Dawn Weisz. Dawn is the executive officer of Marin Clean Energy which is a company that provides renewable energy to homes in Marin. After the preliminary presentations were over, the keynote speaker began his presentation.
When breakfast was served I dug in and thought “Bon Appetit.” Fidele Bauccio was the speaker and CEO/Cofounder of the food management company appropriately named Bon Appetit. His presentation has left me speechless and inspired. His company has been committed to sustainable and socially responsible practices since the 1980s, and has become highly successful economically and in making positive changes to the current agricultural system. Fidele’s passion for good food and moral practices was clearly evident in his presentation and the actions he has done with his company show this.
Although Fidele’s presentation left me speechless, I had to get myself together since, well, I came to this Business Breakfast as a speaker… Out of all the MarinSEL students who attended the Breakfast, there was 5 student speakers who gave speeches at the event and 20 student ambassadors who led table conversations. Different speakers spoke about different aspects of MarinSEL like the LEAD projects, tight-knit and accepting students, the responsibility and leadership needed, and the environmental lessons. In my speech, I talked about a specific project that the MSEL Juniors have been working on this year, the Wind Turbine project. There are many other blog posts relating to this project so I won’t go into massive detail, but basically the project was a result of a partnership with Energy Recovery, Autodesk software, student ingenuity, and our engineering teacher Ms. Oropallo. As of now, we have 3D printed models of the turbine we created and designed after months of experimentation.
After all of the student speakers spoke (nice alliteration huh?), we answered questions from adults and business leaders who attended the event. After many questions and muffins later, it was time to say our goodbyes and head back to school. Overall, the event was interesting and ran smoothly. I was able to hear about the amazing work that is going on in the world and also the horrible problems that need to be fixed, such as the lack of farmworkers’ rights in the agriculture sector. I was able to present my speech professionally to a huge room full of accomplished adults without losing my cool or stumbling on my words.
Thanks MarinSEL, for the opportunity to attend an event like this and practice my leadership and public speaking skills. Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear a bag of carrots calling my name. I will leave you with this: Remember that every choice you make as a consumer is like a vote, and make sure that the companies you support in the supermarket are also companies that you support outside of the store.