Think of all the things you can do now on your phone. It’s almost easier to think of things you can’t do – you can’t make toast, you can’t swim the backstroke and you can’t feel the sand between your toes as you walk along the La Jolla shoreline. And that’s pretty much it.
Michael Pelosi likes to look at it another way. The Skyline High School junior doesn’t care what you can or can’t do on your smartphone because he is too busy living his life and doesn’t have time to look down on his phone to find his favorite song, send a tweet or check out Instagram.
Yes, Pelosi is a teenager without a smartphone! And according to our research, he is one of only 12 teenagers in the country without a cell phone – just kidding, but how many can there be?
“I feel like me not having a smartphone opens up my eyes to what we really lose when we are on our phones too much,” says Pelosi. “Since I don’t have a smartphone, I’ve noticed that I can be more focused and a better listener in social situations. That is one of the main reasons I turned down my opportunity to get a smartphone. I feel less stressed and it gives me more time to focus on more important things in life like my family and friends.”
Pelosi will discuss the benefits of NOT owning a smartphone when he takes the stage on Saturday at the annual TEDxYouth@AnnArbor conference at Skyline HS. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading” and Saturday’s event at Skyline High School gives a voice to the future with high school students speaking about a number of different topics and sharing their ideas, dreams and goals. The event is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday, March 17.
“Smartphones are an amazing technology, but even though they have a lot to offer there are still things we lose in our personal interactions,” Pelosi says. “Our phones have so many tools and actions it’s easy to get lost in it all.”
Instead, Pelosi gets lost in sports, school, friends and music – a wonderful, exciting and quite varied way of spending your day.
He has been kicking a soccer ball from the time he could walk, joining the Michigan Tigers travel soccer team when he was 7 years old.
“I think I was about 4 years old when I first started playing soccer and I just stuck with it ever since,” said Pelosi, who still plays for the Tigers. “In high school playing on Skyline’s soccer team has been fantastic. The season is shorter and it seems more competitive in high school so it has been a great experience.
“It’s also really nice just to play on a team where your teammates on the field become your friends at school.”
When he’s not playing soccer, Pelosi is playing his trombone, which he first picked up when he was in second grade.
“Initially, we had an instrument petting zoo and I just chose the instrument that was the most fun to play,” he said. “Now I play in a couple of different bands and I just stuck with it. A cool thing I like about the trombone is that it can always play perfectly in tune, and it’s still a fun instrument to play because it has a slide.”
One of the bands Pelosi is involved with is the Michigan Youth Ensemble or MYE. Kids from around the state audition to be part of this elite band organized by the University of Michigan and they are instructed by the school’s music faculty.
Pelosi also is a part of the Michigan Youth Symphonic Band.
“We have rehearsals just about every week and have two concerts at Hill Auditorium throughout the year,” he said. “Playing at Hill Auditorium is a great experience. There is so much history of the past performers and the architecture of the hall is amazing.”
Music is “definitely” in tune with his bright future.
“I really enjoy listening and making music,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities in different bands even if I decide not to major in music.”
Pelosi plans to attend college after high school. He has a few schools on his radar but is focusing now on getting past his junior year and studying for the ACT and SAT.
And he doesn’t have a smartphone to distract him from his goals or his dreams.