Let’s talk SouthTalks!

This year's SouthTalks theme is 'Don't Stop Me Now.'


Amber Rice

Jonica Dandridge and Naba Yasir help lead a session during last year's SouthTalks.

Mark your calendar for April 15, because SouthTalks is back and better than ever! This year SouthTalks is taking on a whole new theme inspired by the song “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. 

“All Marketing 2 students submit an idea to present to faculty, staff, several rounds of students. After much consideration seniors, Ben Wright and Tricia Wolf won with the ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ theme,” said business teacher Lindsey Perkins. 

Wolf said she and Wright brainstormed several ideas and then one naturally came to them.  

“I wanted to create a theme everyone could relate to and as I was thinking the Queen song ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ started playing and everyone in my class started singing along,” said Wolf.  

This theme will include all of the school and allow many students to work together to create this day. History teacher and founder of SouthTalks, Amber Rice, explained how this year’s inclusive nature began. 

“This year, a groundswell of students began asking to be part of the planning of this event. They wanted ownership. As a result, we opened up the opportunity for the planning and preparing of the event to be led by a committee of very dedicated and passionate students,” said Rice. 

This theme is based around famous lines from Queen songs for each different company or presenter. 

“The song ‘Sends Shivers Down My Spine’ will correspond to sessions about school shootings from presenters with real-life experiences and what they did in that situation. The song ‘Gonna Take On The World Someday’ connects to the different effects climate change has had on Earth and how we can help fix it. The song ‘Under Pressure’ will talk about pressure from school, social media, work, family, friends and learning how to balance different commitments. The song ‘Somebody To Love’ explains the importance of checking up on your friends, even on their bad days. As well as many other songs and lessons,” said Wright. 

This theme will provide a day that explains current struggles in society and the world and how to come together to find a solution. 

“We tracked over 3,685 face-to-face contact hours between students, professionals and community members,” said Rice.

This time and dedication Parkway South puts in with adults outside of the school to better our community and world is going to increase even more this year with the service projects option, according to Rice.

Student attendance has been problematic in the past. Last year 651 students were absent for the entire day or part of the day. 

“We are changing it up from last year to increase attendance by introducing service projects, so students can go off campus and do field trips that the leadership class came up with,” said Perkins. 

The service projects will help the Parkway South community further take a step back from the curriculum to see and help with what is going on in the world, said Perkins. 

“Students will have the option of helping at the Circle of Concern, painting a mural, reading to elementary school children, helping at retirement homes, or helping out at the Humane Society,” said Perkins. 

This year’s SouthTalks will hopefully impact the student body and staff by opening up a day to learn about society.

“Over the past four years, SouthTalks has positively impacted students by networking them with community members, teachers and various other professionals to investigate and discuss topics that the students expressed interest in learning,” said Rice.