Sparking passion in students

Author, education expert and motivational speaker Mark Perna speaks to a group of parents and students at the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Local educators, parents and residents of the community learned how to spark passion, purpose and performance in Santa Clarita Valley students, as College of the Canyons welcomed author, education expert and motivational speaker Mark Perna.

Hosted through a partnership with College of the Canyons and the William S. Hart Union High School District, both of Perna’s speeches at COC on Friday reflected those in his upcoming book, “Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generation,” which he offered to sign at the end of his presentation.

Considered a national expert in education, Perna’s presentation sought to help attendees understand how to best give SCV students a competitive advantage by expanding the educational options and opportunities available to them, said Harriet Happel, COC’s director of career and technical education.

Through his ongoing work with educational and business organizations, Perna has recognized the distinct issues that younger generations are continually faced with, and in response, has developed several best practices for addressing them.

“I have attended several of Mark’s presentations over the year (and) it goes hand-in-hand with everything we’ve been doing at the Hart district and College of the Canyons,” Happel said, referring to the explosion of career and technical education classes on campus.

“This is what teachers and parents should be thinking like,” said Sue Reynolds Buckley, Hart’s career development coordinator. “If we taught this way, we’d have an engaged student base. If we help kids to have passion and purpose, they will engage.”

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