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Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts students to support EL National Conference

Fourteen Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts (MESA) students are preparing to showcase their skills and talents at the national level.  

The EL Education Network, of which MESA is a member, is hosting its 2023 national conference in downtown Denver from Nov. 30-Dec. 2. The annual event brings together more than a thousand educators, researchers, and students from across the country to collaborate on how to best create classrooms where students achieve more and actively contribute to making the world a better place. 

At the EL Network’s request, MESA selected 14 students to serve as student ambassadors at the conference. They will perform a variety of roles, gaining valuable leadership and graphic design experience along the way. From helping set up the conference and greeting people to chaperoning younger students and speaking on student panels, MESA students will get to contribute to the success of the entire conference. 

Picture of Jose V and teacher Margaret Bell

Senior Jose V. will help plan and coordinate some of the traffic flow for all conference participants. When he’s not doing that, the aspiring math teacher hopes to meet people from other states to exchange experiences and ideas.  

“I’m looking forward to hearing their perspectives about what’s happening and working in their schools and telling them about mine,” he said. “If there are big differences, maybe we could take what we learn back to MESA so that it can help our students, and maybe what we share could help in their schools, too.” 

Some students have already been collaborating with the EL Network’s graphic design department to draft the look of the conference logo and swag, like hats, bags, and t-shirts that will be available at the event. MESA’s students were asked to use the network’s branded color schemes and fonts, and include a few basic elements like mountains, trees, and paper airplanes, to design a logo that described what arts in Denver meant to them.  

Sophomore Amanda A. designed a beautiful logo that included snowcapped mountains and brightly lit stars that she hopes will be selected.  

Student Amanda A shows her graphic design

“It would be cool because I made it, and people would see it instead of this just being a school project,” she said. “And maybe people will see Colorado like I do, with the beautiful mountains.” She may also help design slides for slide shows at the conference.  

MESA Instructional Guide Margaret Bell is excited for her students to experience this growth opportunity where she said they will be the face of the conference. One of the goals of the EL curriculum is to build character, and she said this experience will do just that.  

“I want our students to begin to recognize their truest capacity as leaders in these roles and to have a voice,” she said. “Students often follow what their teachers or adults tell them to do, but here they will be in a space full of adults trusting and looking to them for support and valuing them. This is going to make them feel incredibly empowered.”  

We will share the students’ thoughts on their experience after the conference concludes in a few weeks.