What is talent? How to identify it? At what age should one begin to cultivate their passions, so that they may blossom into the very matter of one’s life? The first edition of ‘Il talento? Questione di CL@SSE’, or ‘Talent? A Matter of CL@SS’. Promoted by Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori, in collaboration with Pirelli, the contest will attempt to provide the answers to some of these questions. It will engage 52.000 high-school students from all over Italy, who are already participating to the project ‘Il Quotidiano in Classe’, or ‘Newspaper in the Classroom’. The program promotes the teaching of civic values through critical reading and reviewing of quality news sources, fostering the development of a critical spirit in young people, and encouraging them to be the readers and citizens of the future: an active part of the democratic life of the country.
The contest aims to guide each student through the process of discovering those unique talents and peculiarities that can be employed in building one’s future, offering them support as they hone and develop these newfound skills. Thus, school becomes a vessel through which merit is rewarded and assigned its deserved value, where young people are incited to pursue their true passions. The project also offers an innovative educational package to all teachers involved, targeted at opening up a debate on themes of personal value and individual talent in the classroom.
Students are asked to come up with a short video describing what talent means for them, and telling the stories of selected inspirational figures they’ve identified through reading newspapers and according to their success in several fields, such as sport, art, music, science and research. The videos will be published on the Osservatorio website, and voted by a jury composed of both the Osservatorio and Pirelli members, as well as an online jury. The best three videos will be announced at the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori National Awards Day – a ceremony crowning the winners of all contests promoted by the Osservatorio, set to take place before the end of 2016. Pirelli will award a study bursary to two students attending years 1-4 of high-school, while the third winner, selected among final year students, will receive a bursary as well as a unique opportunity to participate in an induction week at Pirelli, to discover how the company works from the inside.
As part of the contest, the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori collected a testimony from each of the five contest ambassadors, asking them how they discovered their unique talent, and managed to bring it to full expression. Tenor Andrea Bocelli revealed to have always trusted fate to do some of the work. He admitted, ‘You are born with certain characteristics; but it is up to you to make them blossom, to better yourself to the best of your abilities.’ Footballer Alessandro Del Piero reminisced, ‘So many people – friends, coaches, family members – helped me to exert and develop my talent, whether they knew it or not. Anyone can offer you an input at any given time, but it’s up to you to pick up on it, metabolise it and make it yours. In my experience, talent needs other stimuli to develop. Some constants are necessary: passion always comes first.’ Fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli urges young people to be good people first and foremost: ‘Always keep your big dream in mind – a life lived pursuing a big dream, is a different kind of life.’ Writer Paolo Giordano, winner of the Strega prize with his novel The Solitude of Prime Numbers, suggest: ‘Working hard on yourself is the key – in the broadest sense possible. Working on yourself freely, pursuing many different interests, is a privilege of young age. One of the most difficult aspects when trying to grow your own talent, is finding the mentors you need to guide you and support you.’ ESA astronaut Luca Salvo Parmitano, encourages youths to follow their dreams: ‘Shoot for the stars, but remember that the best way to get there is to focus on the work that needs doing, day after day.’
Pirelli has always bet on talent, as a source of strength and a long-term investment: that’s why it enthusiastically embraced the contest as a way to establish a link with young people and their passions, which it hopes to continue fostering for a very long time.