Kentucky Center for the Arts
(Louisville, KY) – At the annual IDEAFESTIVAL, students not only witnessed adults engaging in life long learning, but were able to engage, explore, experience and challenge ideas, positions and assumed truths for themselves. They consumed knowledge on topics outside the classroom and awakened their child like curiosity in an adult, real-world setting.
IDEAFESTIVAL is a four-day event, which brings together speakers to help participants engage in the excitement of exploring new topics and looking at old issues in novel ways. Subjects range across a wide spectrum of art, science, business, social responsibility, emotion, medicine, space, history and live performances. This mingling of diverse topics is designed to push participants to think differently.
Or as organizers of the event say, “Stay Curious. Embrace the danger of new ideas.”
While most participants are adults, event sponsors have made a number of passes available to Kentucky high school students. Their attendance has become an important element in the mix of people and energy for the event. It has provided high school students a one of a kind learning opportunity.
According to iLead Academy educator, Kirk Brooks, this was not only a chance for students to see that learning takes place outside the classroom, but a rare opportunity to learn right along side adults. We used to learn through apprenticeships with adults, but now we mostly put students with their peers and many learning opportunities are lost. Mr. Brooks also finds it interesting that when students are placed in an adult environment like this, they tend to step up their thinking and engagement.
Students used different words to describe their IDEAFESTIVAL experience, many as, “Truly an eye opening experience.” It is interesting to hear their comments and see the subjects that peak their interest.
“… It’s amazing to be able to take a day and learn about things you otherwise wouldn’t have been interested in and to listen to people speak so passionately and with such intelligence…” – Allie, senior
“… Listening to the speakers was truly inspiring and they taught me things that I can use in my daily life. Forgiveness and taking advantage of opportunities were some of the important concepts I took away.” Hope, junior
“… speakers were very open minded and aware of the people and situations around them. … many doors have been opened in my mind to be able to accomplish the same …” Cayden, sophomore
“… Learning about new topics without being limited by school curriculum and other standardized barriers is more refreshing than words can express. Intelligent conversation always follows the presentations. … thankful for my experiences at IDEAFESTIVAL, and truly hope that I may attend again.” Kayl, sophomore
“… loved being in an environment that encouraged eccentricity in ways of thinking and solving problems, especially in a society that encourages abiding to the norm … every speaker made me question things I thought I already knew… “ Dylan, junior
“… allowed you to form your own thoughts about the subject while sharing theirs. If they had a program in schools similar to that of IDEAFESTIVAL, maybe kids wouldn’t feel like the world is black and white…” MaHayla, junior
“… has given me the opportunity to see into fields of study that I wouldn’t have previously imagined.” Alex, junior
“The IDEAFESTIVAL has always been an invigorating way to learn and discover. … has certainly taken away unique perspectives that will be a part of my life forever.” Cade, junior
Every year I try to guess which speaker will be the most interesting to students. I am always wrong. As educators,, we talk a great deal about creating life long learners. The IDEAFESTIVAL in Louisville each fall, is a prime display of this pursuit. I hope you and your students get the chance to experience this opportunity.
Videos from past events are available on the IDEAFESTIVAL website.