The Launch of Innovate Dayton

The company that was providing the electronics for Dayton's new fiber network got wind of the story and asked if they could fly out to Oregon to create a short promotional video about Dayton. They had worked with hundreds of communities around the country, but had never heard a story like this one.

The company flew a film crew and its creative director from its corporate headquarters back East. They spent a few days filming, including a session of the Innovate Dayton Leadership Team.

The creative director came out of that meeting amazed. He had never known that students could be so mature, so capable. He went on to note that there were three students that really impressed him – so much so that he would gladly fire some of his staff in order to hire them onto his team.

I pointed out that two of the students he just mentioned were students from the junior high school – 14-year-olds. He couldn't believe it. But it was true.

We knew that we had something special happening with the initiative, so Innovate Dayton needed to be officially launched at a special event.

The planning for this event was turned over to the students.

The event was scheduled for May, right before the end of the school year. Every single student in the district was going to be brought to the gym. They would all wear identical t-shirts with the Innovate Dayton logo on the front and the words “We are Dayton’s Future” on the back.

For the first time in Dayton’s history, all of the students in the district were gathered together. Over 1,000 students were in the gym. The students ran it like a pep rally. The energy was electric. The future was being made.

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