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Red Wing students look to create change

State Champions, the Rosemount High School Marching Band, pumps up the crowd with a drumline performance of “Can’t Hold Us” and a special segment with Minnesota Viking players and hometown hero Jack Jablonski during We Day. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for Free the Children)

A group of students from Red Wing decided it was time to make a change. 

A bus with close to 50 students from Red Wing High School headed to St. Paul Wednesday for the first Minnesota We Day, where they joined around 18,000 other students from across the state.

Yue Xiong, Red Wing High School junior, said the event was a great opportunity to meet new people and explore the impact of who each person is and realize it is possible to change the world for the better.

“You get to experience what change is,” Xiong said.

Tickets to this event aren’t purchased. Tickets are earned through community service.

After the event Xiong told his fellow students he was glad each one of them had the courage and devotion to earn their tickets.

"We should all be proud that we got the experience this event together,” he said, adding he is excited for what lies ahead. 

Xiong said he is working with other students in the group to put together food drives for the high school food shelf, as well as the community, clothing drives, book drives and anything else they can think of.

He said it was important to give back to the community since the community has given them so much.

This commitment is part of a yearlong educational program called We Act.

Xiong said aside from the roughly 50 students who were able to attend the event in St. Paul there are another 50 or so who are a part of We Act in Red Wing.

The group currently comprises students from grades 8 through 11.

The We Act program supports students and teachers by providing free educational resources, student-led campaigns and support materials. The goal is to turn the messages from We Day into sustained activation.

Xiong said he realized he doesn’t have to go far to create significant change.

“We’re ready to take that goal on our shoulders,” he said. “We were all there together, as one.”

We Day is an initiative of Free the Children, which is an international charity and educational partner that works to “educate, engage and empower youth to become active local and global citizens,” and also globally to “remove barriers to education and empower communities to break the cycle of poverty,” according to their website.

Gov. Mark Dayton issued a proclamation officially declared Oct. 8, 2013 as We Day across Minnesota at the event.

The event also featured appearances by Martin Luther King III, Queen Noor of Jordan, Jack Jablonski, and members of the Minnesota Vikings, along with many others.

More information on We Day Minnesota can be found at