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Why Early Voting is So Important

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If you are a Massachusetts resident, you may have noticed something different about this year’s election: for the first time you can cast your ballot early. As part of a new early voter initiative, local voting locations will allow residents to cast their ballots between October 24 and November 4th.

This is huge news for democracy. A move by the state to pilot an early voting initiative could mean that officials are considering adding new voter legislation that will make early voting routine in Massachusetts. Adding early voting options will have an incredible impact on the future of American elections by making the democratic process more accessible to voters. In comparison to most European democracies, voting in the United States is significantly more difficult and voters turn out in lower numbers (only 57.5% of eligible voters voted in the 2012 election. That’s 93 million unheard voices!). Therefore, any action taken by the government to encourage people to vote is a progressive change.

For this legislation to come about, however, voters have to participate in the initiative to demonstrate interest in the project. If residents turn out in strong numbers to vote early, legislators will see that people want better voting conditions and will make the appropriate changes to policy. For students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, this initiative could mean fantastic news for increasing voting convenience. Until this project allowed Umass to facilitate four days of on-campus early voting, the University had not been a voting location since 2004. University members hope, however, that overwhelming support for the on-campus early voting site will encourage local officials to re-approve the University to be a voting location for future general elections.

As the last day to vote early on-campus is upon us, I hope to see everyone who has yet to vote at the polls tomorrow! Every vote is essential in a democracy, and by voting early you could help push voting legislation that will amplify the once silent voices of many others.

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Connecting Multilingual Students via #ECGC16

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Representing student voice at this year’s past EdCamp Global Classroom event was an absolute privilege. As my first publicly available Spanish presentation, I was a bit nervous as to how the night would turn out. However, gaining the support of my teachers, friends, and educators from around the would reassured me that the presentation would turn out well.

When I was initially presented with the opportunity to represent student voice at the #ECGC16 Event, I was trilled to be given a platform on which I could share my ideas with the Spanish-speaking world. As the majority of my presentations are in English, it was truly rewarding to know that my ideas for a reformed, more innovative student-centered classroom were reaching the Spanish and Hispanic demographics as well.

Thank you to all of those who tuned in to the presentation and shared your thoughts with me via Twitter. If you would like to check out my presentation, “Buscame por Google- Se Reto” (Google Me- I Dare You), please check out the YouTube Embed below.

 

On Being a Coca-Cola Scholarship Semi-Finalist

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Timmy Sullivan Coca-Cola Scholarship

A little over a month ago, I received the incredible news that I moved on to the semi-final round of the Coca-Cola Scholarship! In its 27th year, the Coca-Cola Scholarship generously awards $20,000 scholarships to 150 deserving high school seniors across the United States. Beyond the enormous amount of scholarship, Coca-Cola scholars are indoctrinated into a community of prestigious individuals, forming life-long relationships with young entrepreneurs, performers, researchers, visionaries and dreamers, all with the power to change the world.

The reason I am so excited about moving forward in the scholarship is not just because I have been distinguished among over 87,000 applicants, but because of the potential a brand as renowned as Coca-Cola has seen in me. My efforts to reform public education, to bring student voice to global attention, and to promote digital citizenship have not gone unnoticed; rather, they are receiving an investment from the moguls of entrepreneurship, marketing, branding, and customer satisfaction.

For my birthday last year, one of my best friends bought me a book on the history of Coca-Cola’s marketing. Opening up this treasure was like uncovering hidden secrets, long forgotten but forever set in stone. In the book, an idea was presented that forever changed my outlook on Coke’s brand:

“Coca-Cola is not about the drink; it has never been about the drink. It is about making people happy.”

I began to notice just how happy Coca-Cola makes people- it is everywhere! During my exchange trip to Spain, my host family would ornament our dinner table with glasses of Coca-Cola. While in Granada, I stumbled across several Coca-Cola bars, serving refreshing drinks to tourists. Even yesterday, during a conversation about the scholarship with DigCitSummit co-founder Dr. Marialice Curran, she started singing “¡Una Coca-Cola y un sonrisa!”

To be recognized for my contribution to social change and educational reform by a world-renowned brand synonymous with happiness is an honor.

As I edit my application in preparation for the upcoming deadline, I decided to enjoy a classic bottle of Coca-Cola, allowing my mind to wander back to the origins of Coke. Once upon a time, this brand was just an idea by someone with enough passion to pursue it endlessly. After unrelenting dedication, unparalleled branding and marketing, and a community strong enough to bring Coca-Cola to every corner of the world, the team behind Coke is inspiring and empowering a new generation of young entrepreneurs with the same passion. I sit back, honored, and read over my application with “a Coca-Cola and a smile.”

Timmy Sullivan Coca-Cola Scholarship

 

Semester 1 Reflection

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As the first semester is wrapping up, I am eager to embrace and explore new challenges, adventures, and passions in the second half of my academic year. My semester one Individual Learning Endeavor (ILE) was to begin learning Swift programming language. While this endeavor was not completely unsuccessful, there are a few key points of failure I would like to reflect on.

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About My ILE

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cropped-google-books.jpg“Its not a group of people sitting around mandating where we need to be in this space. It’s really about people thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if…'”

~Shannon Deegan,

Director of People Organizations at Google Read the rest of this entry »

CMTC: Utilizing Student Genius

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IMG_4343On Wednesday, December 3rd, I was privileged to speak in front of educators and technology integrators about Burlington High School’s Help Desk: a student-run genius bar. The presentation was held in New Hampshire at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference. Here, hundred of technology educators came to attend various conferences and adopt ways to integrate technology into their curriculums.   Read the rest of this entry »

A Tour of Burlington and 1:1

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On November 20th, Burlington High School hosted 75 educators from New England in a tour of our 1:1 technology program. I was an ambassador for the school, the students, and for the ways in which we have innovated at Burlington High. For years we have been an Apple Distinguished high school, and I am proud to have demonstrated why that is.  Read the rest of this entry »