On April 7, 2016, Google’s Chief Global Education Evangelist, Jaime Casap, came to Maplewood High School to participate in American Baptist College’s Inaugural Nashville Senior Day which consisted of three hundred Metro Nashville Public High Schools graduating seniors and a host of Nashville businesses, government leaders, and tech leaders. American Baptist College created Senior Day to promote degree completion and college readiness, through the lens of social justice, by creating an high school pep rally environment that inspired students that graduation and College are indeed possible and that their future should be about positive social impact.
The 2016 Senior Day theme was Reimagining the Impact of Technology through the Lens of Social Justice. Casap was invited because of his riveting personal story of beating the odds, his dedication to helping students soar, and Google’s commitment to addressing critical issues of diversity, technology, and education. As a first generation American born to a single mother on welfare, living in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, Jaime understands and appreciates the power education has in changing the destiny of a family in the span of a single generation.
The program consisted of Marcus Whitney of the Entrepreneurship Center, Bryan Huddleston of the Nashville Technology Council, Daynise Joseph of Google Fiber, Candy Johnson of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Jaime Casap, Google’s Chief Education Evangelist. Of the 300 high school graduating seniors who attended the event, 93% agreed that Jaime’s speech was very relevant for them while 89% believed after being a part of Senior Day that they can see themselves pursuing a career in technology. Furthermore, at ABC’s request, Google’s Virtual Reality Classroom (Google Expedition) visited several Metro Nashville Public Schools during the week following the April 7 presentation. Some of the schools that participated were Maplewood High School, Belmont Waverly Elementary, and Overton High School.
We were excited to partner with the Nashville Technology Council on this initiative because of the great work the NTC is doing to connect communities and students with the world of technology. Overall, ABC’s Inaugural Senior Day is demonstrating how educational institutions and businesses must collaborate to promote college readiness and completion. Collaboration is the only way we can attain Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55, which seeks to get 55 percent of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate by 2025.
Overall, American Baptist College has a long history of producing graduates like Presidential Freedom Medal Awardees, Congressman John Lewis and C.T. Vivian, who understood that degree attainment must be accompanied by a strong narrative of social justice and social transformation. Google’s Chief Global Education Evangelist, Jaime Casap, was invited to be the speaker of Nashville’s Inaugural Senior Day because of his story of “beating the odds” and how Google is addressing issues diversity and social justice in ed tech spaces. The College is committed to creating activities and degree programs that “reimagines the professional impact of technology for transformative social impact that closes the digital divide” including hosting Google’s Chief Global Education Evangelist, Jaime Casap, taking ABC students to the 2016 Black Tech Week in Miami, and hosting national digital media learning organizations like the Digital Youth Network, Game Heads, STEM Without Borders, and Education for Liberation to design culturally-relevant tech learning environments.