I’m Valeria, I’m 13 years old and I’m Digital Champions for Alessandria!

first 100 digital champions valeria cagnina

Digital Champions

Here I am. My name is Valeria, I’m 13 years old and I’m Digital Champion for the municipality of Alessandria. Are you surprised, aren’t you? Me too. A bit. But let’s start from the beginning.

Riccardo Luna

I met Riccardo Luna at the European Representation when I presented my robot realized with Arduino and I spoke to him a few minutes.

I liked him while we was exchanging those few lines.

He asked me what I do, how I realized the robot. He congratulated me for my blog and he told me that behind a very clever girl there are two wonderful parents, as he repeated introducing me as Digital Champion at Adrian’s temple.

I arrive at home and I connect with him by all the socials. After a few days I notice the opening of the website Digital Champions and the possibility to stand. A very simple website, not beautiful, rich in information, interesting and intriguing as now.

It stood out the writing “ candidates” and you could put the flag on epic fail or epic win, to stand as Digital Champions, to tell a story or “I’m a developer”.

My short thesis

As you know I had the story of my short thesis to tell about digital. It wasn’t certainly a victory because at the end I didn’t bring home the result I wanted.

matteo renzi at digital champions valeria cagnina

My old secondary school didn’t become digital (or rather, it continues to be digital very much but only on paper): it didn’t use different and more interesting methods to study the “Promessi Sposi” as I showed, I didn’t manage to make understand to my old teachers that the web can be a resource and can open the horizons.

Furthermore, I dared to support the web, so I passed my exam with a poor 8 and not with a very beautiful mark as I hoped after all I studied during the past three years and after the work I did for my short thesis.

I’m Digital Champion

Never mind! It’s water under the bridge! Today I am in First Year Computer Scientist and my school is such different. Maybe unfortunately is less technological than my old school (at the secondary school we had a Lim per classroom and here we still have the chalks and the blackboards), but the little things it has at least are used and when I went to school telling my teachers I was Digital Champion they were happy for me and they supported me.

In front of the writing “candidates” I ask my mum to let me candidate and she answered me: “Do what you want, but have you realized you’re 13 and they will never get you?”

So you imagine while downloading the emails one day, I saw the email from Riccardo Luna saying “You are a Digital Champion!”

adriano temple digital champions valeria cagnina

I didn’t believe my eyes, I was over the moon and I read and read again it thousands of times because I was afraid not to have understood well. It was true.

I was one of the 100 Digital Champions!

I’m among the first 100 ones

Our presentation in Rome at Adrian’s temple was fantastic.

A wonderful location and a unique emotion. Even Matteo Renzi, our Prime Minister, and the Minister Madia attended and the Agid, too, who has stated to have the best ones of Italy in its staff (and I met Quintarelli so I agree!) and other many important people.

The Italian anthem played by Benedetta with her fruit and some very interesting videos.

Italian anthem digital champions valeria cagnina

Particularly I was struck by what one of the videos stated: everyone both can learn and teach and no one can know everything.

Then questions, interviews, posts…My name typed even by Ansa…a honour and a privilege: I hope to be up to it.

In short…I tried and Riccardo Luna trusted me.

I’m not the most clever one, the most able and the most expert in the municipality of Alexandria in digital field. Of course, how could I be since I am 13?

I even don’t know well all the bodies, the roles and the job…and I always have to ask my parents. I am 13.

Also in the digital field. It’s a field I love a lot so how could I think to know much more than my fellow citizens?

location riccardo luna digital champions adriano temple

So why just me?

First of all because I candidate and they liked my story.

On the web, as a bit of defiance, people asked me how I will behave and how I will react in front of the problems, the PA or a town council.

It’s an easy answer. The Digital Champions are digital ambassadors. They don’t know everything but work together and aren’t exclusive.

For any problem, doubt or clarification, I will refer to the others. In the staff there are lawyers, engineers, experts of each field which will take it in hand.

I will have to act only as an intermediary and try to combine the digital already exists in my municipality.

Maybe the fact I’m 13 and not have political opinions and fronts, of course, could be an advantage. Don’t you think? With me people talk about only digital, I’m not an employee, an entrepreneur and certainly I have no other interest than promote the digital.

In these days I have received lots of messages, emails, phone calls from people I didn’t know…all of support and help. An aspect that astonished me it is the gentleness by which adults talk to me and write to me.

A middle-aged man asks me the friendship on FB and then he took care to introduce himself telling me he is a serous person and I don’t run any risk with him. But I peeped at his profile, among his friends, I run his profile and I already knew he was a smart person!

I certainly will not solve Alessandria problems but certainly the fact to be the youngest Digital Champion spotlight our town, which is always defined “grey”.

In this moment everyone wants to collaborate and help me giving me free their time, their thousands skills to improve our town. Don’t you think this is a very good starting point, yet?

In one year my mandate will end, other better people will arrive and they will do better, but today it’s my turn to open the way, I will do it with all my diligence and I ask you to help me.

Contact me and call me (but only in the afternoon since in the morning I am at school). Together we can bring home really great results for Alessandria.

And now…at work!

digital champions valeria cagnina


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