In this post, longtime Prime Mentors of Canada volunteer mentor, Guy Hamel, shares a note about his 2015-2016 protégés Afia and Safiyya from Thorncliffe Junior Public School.
Originally, I met with each of the girls separately to discuss possible topics and approaches to the research that would be involved. I knew that the two were classmates and close friends. I met with the two together with the notion that each could, once the separate presentations were close to completion, step in as an assistant. I had worked with such arrangements a few times in the past. However, during that initial meeting I realized that the two were extremely congenial, worked together intimately as a team, offered advice, challenged suggestions, were remarkably creative. Their enthusiasm as workmates was an irresistible asset; and I recognized that we should meet together, each of the girls taking a turn as presenter and assistant.
The topics chosen—Safiyya on The Human Brain and Afia on The Human Immune System—were extremely challenging. The presenters realized that they had to demonstrate rather than relate the information they wished to share with their audience. Thy found ways to involve their listeners. They invented what they called “skits”—dramatic interchanges between the two of them—to make certain points, as in demonstrating the cognitive process in decision making from prefrontal cortex to the amygdala and back to the reasoning function to invoke rationalization. They were clever, engaging, and successful.
The result of the project for me was an extremely happy association with my young colleagues; the result for them was to receive scholarships for the outstanding quality of their presentation.
Congratulations to Afia and Safiyya and Guy on a job well done!