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Lauren Cogan's Success in Junior Achievement Key To Developing Grad Video

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Lauren Cogan’s graduation photo modeled the latest in COVID-19 prevention techniques | Photo: Courtesy

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By combining her love of community with a passion for entrepreneurship, Winnipeg teen Lauren Cogan created a magnificent high school graduation tribute with student participation that spanned 17 countries.

Cogan, Student Council Co-President at Oak Park High School, shared the sadness of all 2020 grads that their big moment was felled by pandemic prohibitions against traditional crowded ceremonies and events. Noting how local students were responding by posting online videos to substitute, she wanted to share the platform of a global valedictorian speech, and a call for participants was made through Instagram.

Cogan said if the “Class of 2020 Global Valedictorian Speech” had been a solo effort, “I think I would have added a bit more humor. But the video valedictorian speech, I thought, was more special because instead of there being one valedictorian there were over 80 students/valedictorians featured in the video.”

To maximize the reach of the video, she turned to a federal grant program, #RisingYouth, and pumped that money into promotion on Instagram. She also turned for technical wizardry to Reis Best, co-chair of the school Tech Committee. The ‘welcome back’ video for the beginning of the ill-fated school year was the first of a few collaborations they worked on together before classes were suspended. Cogan lauds his dedication as essential to the success of the project.

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“I can’t say for certain how many hours it took Reis. The editing took close to 3 weeks total and I would see upwards of 70 hours. On YouTube, the video has over 3,000 views and my Instagram has over 13,000 views.” 

The video can be searched on YouTube or seen on Cogan’s Instagram account, www.instagram.com/laurencogan_/

Lauren Cogan depicted with some of the 80 students who contributed to her 2020 grad tribute video | Photo: Courtesy

Among her numerous activities and accomplishments outside of a school setting, Cogan serves as the Meal Delivery Coordinator for the Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre, is an award-winning athlete, and was one of 65 students invited to the Experiences Canada forum on Diversity and Inclusion. She credits the business development experience she gained through Junior Achievement, which awarded Cogan the Winnipeg World Trade Centre scholarship, for the successful launch of the video concept.

“The biggest take away I got from JA was gaining the confidence to take an idea from my head and make it come to fruition by going from one step to the next. (The video) started as an idea and then one month later it was an incredible message for the class of 2020 featuring students around the world.”

“I joined Junior Achievement at the beginning of grade 11,” Cogan explained. “I was President of my Company, called Last Straw, which was a bamboo reusable straw with a microfiber-lined case. It was an incredible leadership experience and kickstarted my entrepreneurial path. In my second year of JA, I served as the Vice-President of Health and Safety. I was proud that my team’s Safety Plan earned second place at the virtual award ceremony.”

Lauren Cogan launched the Class of 2020 Global Valedictorian Speech video online on May 27th | Photo: Courtesy

The pandemic forced Cogan to lose out on a number of planned trips, including as a Maimonides Scholar to Yale University and attending the March For The Living. Despite a busy 5 year Economics and Business double degree program upcoming at the Ivey School of Business at Western University, she is hopeful those travels will still materialize.

“Maimonides is still hoping to get us to Yale eventually. I love travelling so I will absolutely make time to see the world. One way I plan on doing this is through summer internships abroad and doing an exchange semester while at university. I am also hoping to play on Western’s ultimate frisbee team which will travel across Ontario and Canada to compete. As for now, I am taking this time to explore the province I live in. Every couple weeks I am doing mini road trips with my family to see a new place in Manitoba.”

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragon’s Den.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

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