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Seeing Our Future Through Lenses That Illuminate

​​​​​​​It was a great honor to be invited to deliver a Keynote Speech and to be a part of a farsighted brilliant Inspira...

It was a great honor to be invited to deliver a Keynote Speech and to be a part of a farsighted brilliant Inspirational Banner Project to inspire and empower young minds that was unveiled at Franklin Central High School in Indiana on Monday, November 1st. This is a visionary capital enlightened idea! Personally, it was a deeply moving experience to be included and represented in this august company that spotlighted the legacy and outstanding achievements of some very distinguished national heroes and celebrated international icons. Indiana continues to amaze me and I am eternally grateful. The vision and concept behind the FCHS Project carries a far-reaching message and exciting challenges for teachers and mentors to empower and ignite pioneering young minds to trailblaze into limitless awaiting possibilities.

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FCHS PRESS RELEASE offered some details: "The Franklin Central High School C.U.R.E. Project hosted a banner dedication ceremony called “Representation Matters” on November 1, 2021 in the Robert L. Mason Auditorium. Superintendent Dr. Hibbard, Principal Matasovsky, FTCSC Administration, School Board Members Kelly Foulk and Dee Dee Gowan, the Franklin Township Education Foundation, faculty and staff greeted special guests K.P. Singh, Maninder Walia, Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Judith Thomas, and retired FC teacher Susan Tomlinson as 18 student leaders displayed the large banners on the stage. These banners were funded to the C.U.R.E. Project by a generous 2021 grant from FTEF members and Director Dianna Miller-Wilson and will be showcased throughout the high school.

Banner honorees included:

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Maya Angelou, American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist; Fred Korematsu, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient for his work in opposing the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII; Caesar Chavez, Mexican American Labor Leader and U.S. Navy Veteran; John Lewis, Civil Rights activist whose work began when he was in his teens and continued until his death at age 80; Joy Harjo, current U.S. Poet Laureate and Native American advocate; Oprah Winfrey, actress, writer, TV show host, and philanthropist; Dolores Huerta, former teacher and co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association; Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate; KP Singh, nationally known architect and artist, community leader, and an advocate for working together to serve God and humanity. The beautiful Banners with a large photos and a quotes from each of the honorees were ceremoniously brought into the Auditorium by the student leaders of various School Clubs.

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The highlight of the event was the words of one of the Banner honorees: Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh. As a long-time Indianapolis resident who holds four degrees as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, KP Singh graciously inspired the audience with his remarks and the message that representation matters. He noted that Indianapolis is an inclusive and welcoming international city, and he challenged the audience to keep learning, strive to make connections, and lead with empathy. Here is link to his full Keynote Speech: tinyurl.com/KPSinghFCHSAddress                                                                                                               Principal Jenni Matasovsky closed the ceremony and a reception followed for all guests. Franklin Central is a "diverse, growing community that values our students."

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The C.U.R.E Project is represented by Principal Jenni Matasovky; Lisa Laker, English teacher; Andrea McKeeman, Media Center Director; Paul Osterman, Science Teacher; and Alison Shaw, Business teacher and 2021 FCHS Teacher of the Year.

Reflecting on the message and spirit of Dedication of Banners: As I headed home after the spirit-uplifting experience that I just witnessed and was honored to be a part of, my mind kept going to vision and message behind these beautiful Inspirational Banners for the students and teachers to reflect upon: "Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime"... hard work ethics ... content of our character... respect for family, teachers, community, and humanity in all its complex and sometime maddening, and yet wondrous, spectrum and myriad dimensions.

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Suddenly the elegant Inspiration Banners took on the spirit of a Parade of Legacies of the daring and enlightened, pioneers and explorers, builders and creators, dreamers and passionate activists, and trailblazers and mentors who have shaped our lives and the human civilization. I saw such Banners opening the door to an encyclopedia of curiosity, knowledge and wisdom, awaiting and empowering young minds to shape their future and discover the undreamed-of and impossible.  

I saw hope, optimism, and promise - that this was a Project that has farsighted possibilities of directing our energy to things that really matter, and bringing home a promised emancipation in a larger context - of our heart and spirit, opportunities and responsibilities, freedoms and excelling, unburdening ourselves from unfounded stereotyping and negative energy toward those of different cultures, ethnicities, and traditions, and to respectfully advancing ideas and initiatives that magnify our collective promise as a human family and dignity of each person and timeless wisdom, celebrated legacies, and knowledge that empowers and emancipates us from mindless divisions as the ultimate keystone to envisioning and shaping a more hopeful future. 

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Suddenly, the true promise of beautiful Banners became evident as venerable icons and living voices speaking to us that we too can trailblaze to greatness if we set our mind, not just to walk in the footsteps of our heroes but to set our mind to enlarge their hard-won pathways and prepare for our own unimagined giant leaps toward the amazing and impossible. I saw discussions about the sacrifices and achievements enshrined in Banners leading to a more respectful learning about all our neighbors. I felt pride at the very thought of future graduates and Hoosier generations discovering valued lessons in new light and times and at future crossroads.  

Kanwal Prakash 'KP' Singh

KP participates in interfaith and humanitarian initiatives (Interfaith Hunger Initiative); activities and celebrations of diverse faiths and ethnic communities in Indiana.  KP assists with cultural training for Police Officers and TSA personnel; works with teachers, students, civic leaders to create a better understanding of Sikh and other faith traditions and contributions. KP advocates interfacing and mainstreaming ethnic talents, assets to benefit and serve all Americans.

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