We sifted through nearly 80 pitches and chose inspiring and exciting stories about people's experiences with education.

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Our first-ever Ignite Education Lab event is Jan. 21 — a week from Thursday — and we are happy to announce we chose 10 speakers from the 79 pitches we received, and you, our readers, helped us choose the 11th.

If you haven’t reserved your seat, do it now. Tickets are $5 per person now and will increase to $10 the night of the event.  The doors will open at 6 p.m. and we’ll have a cash bar and photo booth. The talks will start very close to 7 p.m. and end promptly at 9 p.m. with a short intermission in-between.

Dwane Chappelle will be master of ceremonies for the event. Chappelle, the former principal of Rainier Beach High School, was recently appointed by Mayor Ed Murray to serve as the first director for the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning.

“I am excited to emcee this event because I am passionate about education and seeing young minds develop,” Chappelle said. “Nelson Mandela said it best: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon in which people can use to change the world.'”

The 11 speakers are:  (Quick note: This isn’t the speaker order for the show.)

  • Meth and Me (Arielle Effenberger)
  • Lesson Planning Like Falling in Love: Romancing 6th-grade Curriculum (Kristin Leong)
  • Getting Radical with Math: Embedding Social Justice in the Numbers (Saraswati Noel)
  • Diversity is Uncomfortable! Diversity is Awesome! (Sean Riley)
  • How Orca Cards Once Saved the World (Ifrah Abshir)
  • How a Bunch of 12-year-olds Schooled Me about Life (Sheeba Jacob)
  • How My 4-year-old Saved My Family (Kent Palosaari)
  • Sometimes It Takes More Than A Village (Evan McKittrick)
  • Black Eyes, Crossovers and Becoming a Man (Mozart Guerrier)
  • Washington State?!? You’re Being Fined $100,000 a Day and You Still Can’t Figure Out How to Fund Public Education??? (Tali Rausch)
  • Not Sure If I’m in Times Square on New Year’s Eve or My Math Class (Mariah Valles) *Chosen by our readers

We look forward to seeing you a week from Thursday!