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VOL. 127 | NO. 67 | Thursday, April 05, 2012

St. George’s to Host Symposium

By Aisling Maki

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The public is invited to learn about the importance of entrepreneurial citizenship during St. George’s Independent School’s 2012 Educational Symposium, slated for April 14 at Memphis Bioworks Foundation, 20 S. Dudley St.

“Entrepreneurial citizenship means looking at areas where people are able to innovate through ideas and frameworks addressing issues or creating possibilities,” said Luther Mercer, director of the St. George’s Institute for Citizenship, which is hosting the event.

This is the second symposium organized by the Institute for Citizenship at St. George’s Independent School, which has three campuses – Collierville, Germantown and on Kimball Avenue in Memphis.

The first symposium was held in 2010 in honor of St. George’s 50th anniversary.

“We’re pleased to continue this tradition by offering an opportunity for the Memphis community to further discuss the importance of engaged citizenship, not only on a local level but on a national and global level as well,” said Bill Taylor, president of St. George’s.

Service to the community is an important component of learning at St. George’s, and in 2009, the school established the Institute for Citizenship to expand on that commitment.

The initiative enrolls St. George’s high school students, who apply and are selected, in an intensive, two-year-long course covering regional, national, global and environmental civic engagement.

“That focus on innovation and creativity is something that’s an inherent aspect of our approach to teaching and learning at St. George’s,” Taylor said. “It’s a critical component of our citizenship institute. Our seniors work in teams to create an innovative proposal for some community need and they present their proposals to a group of entrepreneurs who help them learn how to think in terms of innovation and creativity. The whole idea of entrepreneurship is identifying problems that need innovative solutions.”

To produce this year’s symposium, St. George’s Institute for Citizenship teamed up with nonprofit Memphis Bioworks Foundation, which works to facilitate collaboration and accelerate the growth of the region’s bioscience industry, along with Launch Your City, a nonprofit working to empower entrepreneurs, reduce barriers to success and build Memphis as a venture city.

The daylong event, called “Entrepreneurial Citizenship: Responsibility, Civic Awareness, Engagement,” will engage the public through four panel discussions featuring a cross-section of local leaders and thinkers from the business, education, government and environmental sectors.

“The main takeaway will be to rethink your daily life,” said Launch Your City CEO Eric Mathews. “We hope that people walk away thinking about their activities and actions in the community in a new light, as being entrepreneurial in nature. Hopefully they’ll all advance the community forward. If you’re looking for opportunities to see how others blaze different paths in different arenas, this is an opportunity to view entrepreneurship in a different light.”

Among the 15 panelists are Memphis Bioworks Foundation president Steve Bares; Memphis Urban League president and CEO Tomeka Hart; KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools executive director Jamal McCall; City of Memphis special assistant for research and innovation Kerry Hayes; and Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Great Outdoors University founder and The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc. president and CEO Peter Schutt.

“We’re looking at how they’re giving in their areas and also how they’re giving back and connecting to the community,” Mercer said. “Some have done it through education and being forward thinkers. We also have people from the business community who’ve cultivated new opportunities for people to engage.”

The symposium is free, but participants can pre-register at www.SGIS.org.

The Daily News is a supporter of St. George’s Independent School.

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