Senior selected as featured ISTE keynote speaker
Posted on 05/03/2019
Sarah Jagels

Sarah Jagels, a senior at Independence Nontraditional School, was recently selected as one of the closing keynote speakers for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia on June 23-26, 2019. This is a high honor, as it is rare for a student to be selected as a keynote speaker, according to ISTE conference coordinators. Jagels will also be the keynote speaker for the PWCS Student Leadership Conference on May 18, 2019, held at Gar-Field High School.

For both conferences, Jagels will be presenting a TED Talk on stress-reducing techniques learned in her journey through a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder a few years ago. A high achiever, she did not let the diagnosis set her back, continuing a rigorous course load and participating in activities - and placing therapy on the back burner. But in her junior year, she realized it was time to make her mental health a first-priority and transferred to Independence Nontraditional for a more individualized, student-centered approach to learning. This allowed her to continue taking advanced courses and thrive in school.

The way Jagels became an ISTE keynote presenter speaks to the team mentality at Independence of furthering their students, an attitude fostered by Principal Robert Eichorn. Always looking for opportunities to promote student growth, Robin Dalusung, technology support specialist, saw the call for presenters for the PWCS Student Leadership Conference and highlighted it for teachers. Dr. Arvinder Johri, English teacher, recognized Jagels, one of her students, as having “an aura of self-assurance and confidence” and thought she would be a good candidate to present a talk for it. Upon hearing the opening of Jagels’ presentation, Peggi Knight, instructional technology coach, realized that it was of TED Talk caliber and worked with Jagels to submit a video as a TED Talk presentation proposal for ISTE.

Knowing that many people struggle with anxiety, Jagels is “incredibly excited to be able to stand on a platform and be a voice for many other people who just don’t have one.”

Providing opportunities for students and staff to take what they’ve learned to be real-world ready is Positively PWCS!