Meet the Canadian “Your Voice is Power” champions


16 September 2021 by Susan Ibach
After listening to music remixes from more than 1,500 middle and high school students across the U.S. and Canada, judges have selected the top Canadian student and teacher in the “Your Voice is Power” music remix competition.

Amazon teamed up with YELLOW, the education equity nonprofit founded by visionary recording artist Pharrell Williams, TakingITGlobal, and the Georgia Institute of Technology to launch “Your Voice is Power”, a collaboration that encourages students to voice their opinions on social justice and equity through music while learning how to code using Georgia Tech’s learn-to-code-through-music platform, EarSketch.

The winners were surprised with a special video message from Pharrell himself.

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Jasmine Jenkinson
Notre élève canadienne gagnante est Jasmine Jenkinson de l’école secondaire Georgian Bay District à Midland, en Ontario. Elle a remporté un prix de 5 000 $, à utiliser comme bourse d’études ou comme subvention pour démarrer une entreprise. Le remix de Jasmine a été inspiré par le mouvement Black Lives Matter et par sa réaction aux injustices sociales subies par Georges Floyd et la communauté Noire. Son remix comprenait des extraits audio de journaux télévisés sur les manifestations Black Lives Matter. Jasmine étudie actuellement le théâtre et l’art dramatique à l’Université de Toronto, et prévoit d’utiliser sa passion pour les arts pour aider à diffuser des messages sur l’inégalité raciale et sur l’espoir d’un avenir meilleur

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Turner Ruetz
Our Canadian teacher winner is Turner Ruetz from St. Anthony’s School in Kincardine, Ontario who was honoured for going above and beyond to help his students. Mr Ruetz teaches music from grades 1 to 8 and was introduced to “Your Voice is Power” by a co-worker who knew he had some coding experience. “Being introduced to this program couldn’t have come sooner with the limited ability to teach Music during the pandemic and the introduction of coding in the Ontario Math Curriculum this year.” Students would approach him in the schoolyard with questions about how to do write code to make changes to their remix. Homeroom teachers often shared how great it is to see students so engaged in what they are doing “Your Voice is Power has been such a powerful and engaging program for my students and me this past year. From rich and meaningful conversations to building confidence in one’s ability to create music, this has been extremely impactful and memorable.”

“Your Voice is Power has been such a powerful and engaging program for my students and me this past year. From rich and meaningful conversations to building confidence in one’s ability to create music”
Turner Ruetz – Music teacher St. Anthony’s School

Student remixes were judged by a panel of Amazon engineers, Amazon Music team members, computer scientists, academics, and music industry professionals. Winners were chosen based on the quality of music, complexity and organization of their code, and their inclusion of thoughtful messaging and calls to action about the importance of racial justice.

Our first “Your Voice is Power” competition has come to a close but we don’t want to limit the opportunity for teachers to inspire and students to create! You can access the teaching resources and Earsketch from the “Your Voice is Power” Canadian landing page. Stay tuned as we will launch new Canadian “Your Voice is Power” competitions in the 2021/2022 school year. Make beats. Learn Code. Promote Equity.

Posted in NewsTagged Amazon Future Engineer, Canada, Earsketch, Jasmine Jenkins, Pharrell Williams, Python, Winners, Your Voice is Power, YVIP