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More than 15,000 students from 450 Seattle area schools packed Key Arena for We Day 2014, which is sponsored by Microsoft and The Allstate Foundation.

More than 15,000 energetic students from over 450 schools in Washington state packed an electric Key Arena on Friday for We Day Seattle, an event co-sponsored by Microsoft that celebrates youth empowerment.

Free The Children co-founder Craig Kielburger and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll answer questions before We Day 2014.
Free The Children co-founder Craig Kielburger and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll answer questions before We Day 2014.

Every student in attendance today participated in a year-long education program called We Act. To attend the event, which features 45 speakers like Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and Martin Luther King III, kids had to earn a ticket by making a commitment to take action on at least one local and one global initiative of their choice. More than 130,000 students participated in the program in 2013.

Microsoft executive vice president of human resources Lisa Brummel and Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group Principal Julie Sandler are scheduled to speak this morning, and we’ll have more from them on GeekWire later today.

weday1212The We Day Seattle initiative was put together by international charity organization Free The Children and Carroll, who helped bring the all-day event that celebrates students’ accomplishments to Washington. The is the second-ever We Day Seattle.

“These guys have developed a whole system for how to get kids active and to open doorways to do the work the kids want to do,” Carroll said this morning. “Without leadership, they would be left to figure it out on their own. This is just extremely impressive and the results speak for themselves.”

Microsoft has also planned a special Skype moment with a classroom in Uganda. We’ll have more coverage from Key Arena later today, so check back on GeekWire for that. You can watch all the action with a live stream here — Brummel will speak at 10:23 a.m., and Sandler takes the stage at 11:11 a.m.

Follow-up: VC Julie Sandler tells teens: ‘We need more girls pursuing their entrepreneurial ideas’

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