Key Messages: Noted Speaker Invited to SMCS

Key Messages: Noted Speaker Invited to SMCS

Her name was brought forward as a suggestion during the summer of 2018. 

At that time, Kristy Onyeaju and John Connelly were looking for more quality resources to augment their teaching of topics including: consent, equity, positive masculinity, moral courage, and digital citizenship to students at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS).

Onyeaju and Connelly, an English teacher and Guidance Counsellor respectively, are also co-moderators of the school’s St. Michael’s Man Programme, born in 2014 from the school’s Leadership Club.

The pair took the suggestion and began researching Alexis Jones. They quickly found a logical fit and in early October 2018 confirmed Jones as a guest speaker to the school this academic year.

“Her approach is really unique because when you talk about boys and men, there are a lot of conversations about them. She’s one of the few speakers that actually talks to them,” says Onyeaju, now in her sixth year as a teacher at SMCS.

Alexis Jones is a Texas-born, internationally-acclaimed speaker, author and entrepreneur, who has been invited to speak at the United Nations, the White House, the NFL, Harvard University, and the Girl Scouts, among other organizations. In 2018, Jones was awarded the United States highest national honour for public service.

“Everything she talks about is consistent with what we are trying to teach the boys,” says Connelly, formerly an English teacher at SMCS. “We talk to them about positive relationships with others and respect for self, and that’s a huge part of what Alexis Jones discusses in her encounters with athletes and with celebrities. We talk to the boys a lot about how to be leaders, and how to inspire others and how to develop positive expressions of masculinity, healthy masculinity and that, in itself, is a big part of what Alexis Jones delivers in her talks, so almost everything she says is concomitant with what we’re trying to do with the St. Michael’s Man Programme,” he says.

Adds Onyeaju, “Her entry point is really inviting boys to consider the impact of the media they consume, how it affects their perceptions of themselves and what that should look like, and she really challenges them to define themselves authentically, apart from how they are being told to act.”

Jones will be making a rare appearance in Canada, slated to address St. Michael's College School students, faculty, staff and its parent community on January 31, 2019.