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Catalyst Conference Features Student Research
Nichole LeFebvre

This Thursday, Global Online Academy's Catalyst Conference launches with virtual presentations from 103 Head-Royce students alongside their peers from across the globe. 

GOA’s annual conference is a public, online exhibition of student research focused on problem solving, equity, and advocacy. This is the fifth year the Upper School History Department has embraced the Catalyst Conference as a capstone for 10th grade U.S. History, as the program aligns well with the department’s social justice mission. Learn more about the conference’s scope and check out a few of last year’s projects here

Since January, the sophomores have been knee-deep in research, guided by questions like, “What is an as-yet unsolved problem in our country’s history?” “Can you explore its origins and current status, including who first identified the problem?” “Who's working to further address it today?” and “What might you propose as next steps?” Students have learned about the many grassroots organizations working to enact systemic change––here in Oakland and beyond––and are dreaming up ways they might get involved. 

They’re ready to share their knowledge with our community, flexing their public speaking muscles. History Teacher and GOA Site Director Kay Bradley says, “It’s a hugely exciting event for our community.” The conference will feature Head-Royce students in U.S. History Problem Solving Past and Present and seven additional GOA courses, from Game Theory to Medical Problem Solving to Bioethics.  

“The conference will kick off with Keynote Speaker LaTricea Adams, Founder, CEO, and President of Black Millennials 4 Flint, the first and only environmental justice and civil rights organization founded by Black and Latinx Millennials with a focus on the eradication of lead throughout the nation,” says Kay Bradley. “She's amazing.”  

Head to goaconference.org starting on Thursday, April 22. There, you can filter projects by our school. We encourage you to interact with the students, asking them questions and celebrating their hard work. As senior Justin W. ’21, who presented in 2019, explains, “This engagement showed me that people cared enough to read and learn something from what I said, which revealed how powerful my voice can be.”

And don’t worry! We’ll remind you via social media later this week. 

Each day, it seems, we hear of another horrific shooting, hate crime, or natural disaster. It can be hard to feel hopeful. Yet, these students will encourage you to keep working toward change. “The earth is on fire,” writes Anne Lamott, “but the young are on fire, too.”

Catalyst Conference participants attend 96 schools across the globe.