Nashoba attends SPARK 2014 – A Conversation with His Holiness – “The Dalai Lama”

Hannah Feakes, Editor


Leadership is an essential core of the Nashoba community. Students have shown tremendous growth and progress in taking initiative in a variety of clubs and organizations. They have really stepped up to make the most of their time here. Through the thirty-five some clubs and organizations and the twenty-nine sports teams, leadership opportunities are boundless. Whether it’s being captain of the football team, editor of the newspaper, or even creating a new club at Nashoba, there is always a way to get involved.

Although the majority of students at Nashoba frequently immerse themselves in these clubs and organizations, there are a select few who have shown consistent leadership from the beginning, and because of this, they are getting recognized by being presented with an incredible opportunity, one that will never be forgotten. Fifteen students have been exclusively selected  to attend the Dalai Lama event at MIT in Boston on October 31st.

The Dalai Lama is, “the ruler and chief monk of Tibet, believed to be a reincarnation of Avalokitesvara and sought for among newborn children after the death of the preceding Dalai Lama,” according to his biography. Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the current leader of Tibet. He has postponed his own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity. Nashoba students will be attending and participating in a panel discussion led by His Holiness entitled, Change-Makers for a Better World, which is organized by The Dalai Lama Centre for Ethics and Transformative Values.

Throughout their day in Boston, students will attend a variety of seminars and presentations. The itinerary includes in order, Spark Laughter with George Lopez, Spark Kindness with Chade Meng- Tan, Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow”, Spark Happiness with Surprise Guest, Conversations with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Global Systems 3.0: Equitable Solutions for a Changing World and Youth in Conversation with the Dalai Lama. The event starts at 11am and will conclude around 3:30pm.

According to the official website of The Dalai Lama, “‘SPARK” is a unique program that empowers our youth to become change makers for a better world. This interactive event brings together teachers and students in a transformative discussions about creating positive personal and social change. Conversations with several prominent public figures will be featured, including a conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”

The fifteen excited students who have been selected to witness the Dalai Lama are spread around Nashoba, involved in a variety of different clubs and activities. Organizations that will be represented at the event include: Student Council, Student Government, The Chieftain Press, Good Young Movement, Best Buddies, Gay Straight Alliance, Nashoba Drama, athletics and those with good academic standing.

One may ask, ‘on what qualifications did these students get invited?’ Secretary, Mrs. Nicoll explains, “All of the students were leaders in the school in some form.” “SPARK sent an invitation to Mr. Wood, who then sent  it to Mr. Sakellarion. Mrs. Carter and I were then asked to go, and the answer was a unanimous yes! The three faculty members were asked to bring five students each, but they collaborated on a list of students and made suggestions together.” she clarified.

Almost every student accepted the invitation and are becoming more educated on the Dalai Lama and his values in preparation for the event. Elizabeth Senior, President of Best Buddies says, “I had heard of the the Dalai Lama before I was invited to this event, although I did not know much about him. As I learned more about him through the event I was inspired by his advocacy and determination to teach his values of religion and peace.” She adds that although she was surprised to receive the invitation, she was honored as well and expects to come out of His presentation feeling “both inspired and motivated to become a stronger leader .”

The hope is that the students will learn valuable skills to bring back to Nashoba and benefit the organizations, the school unity, and the surrounding communities.

Hannah Mackie, the Gay Straight Alliance President, is familiar with the Dalai Lama and agrees with the majority of his philosophies and is eager to attend the event. She added, “He’s awesome and has a great outlook”.

Attending the Dalai Lama’s presentation will be an amazing opportunity for both the students going and for the Nashoba community.  They will bring home and share what they learn from this inspirational opportunity. The Dalai Lama is a worldwide figure head who promotes human rights, democracy and freedom. It is truly an honor for Nashoba and its student body to be recognized and represented at his event.