The Opening Keynote
The opening keynote address was given by Ashley Judd. At the beginning of her talk she spoke of her intimidation in addressing us, and she questioned her relevance to our conference. I must confess I was right there with her on the latter. Aside from the fact she was a well-known celebrity, I was hard pressed to find a relevant connection. As she began to speak, however, my curiosity increased. Shortly into her talk she recited the Serenity Prayer. As someone who is familiar with twelve-step programs I knew the prayer and was impressed that she put herself out there like that. As she began to share her story I realized she was someone who represented our students. She was someone who had experienced a disturbing childhood and had clung to the encouragement and kind words of her teachers. I found her honesty and openness about her experiences to be both impressive and humbling. Although her message may not have been my first pick for kicking off a technology conference, she reminded everyone in the room that the reason for all of these innovations is ultimately for the ones who matter the most – our students.