Our very own Lead Teacher, Shanelle Gabriel, was selected to attend the first festival to ever be held in the White House called South By South Lawn on Monday, October 3rd. South by South Lawn, an event inspired by Austin, Texas' South by Southwest, gathered a dynamic group of creators, innovators, and organizers who are working in their own unique ways to better their communities and the world. Other attendees, speakers, and performers included Common, The Lumineers, Baratunde Thurston, Ryan Leslie, and more with a closing conversation between Leonardo DiCaprio and, the man who's backyard they gathered in, our President Barack Obama.
Shanelle was able to get a few quick photos with Nick Cannon and Brooklyn's own Senator Kevin Parker. She was excited to explore the exhibitions presented including two virtual reality simulations, one that took viewers on a trip through Yellowstone Park (narrated by President Obama) and the Guardian's disturbing 6x9 which places you inside a US solitary confinement prison cell and tells the story of the psychological damage that can ensue from isolation. All of this plus great food, perfect weather, and some laughs while "Swag Surfing" in front of the White House made this day epic.
Shanelle describes the event as life changing and humbling. She states, "Looking into and being numbered among the vast sea of people connecting, building, and doing amazing things in the community, I felt a sense of duty to do more for my community. It was an honor to have been selected to attend, and it is still unbelievable that I was present to see history being made."