Sean Quigley has come a long way in the year since his self-produced rock version of the Little Drummer Boy went viral on YouTube.
All the way to the former Soviet Union, as it turns out.
The Oak Park High School student recently returned from two weeks of working with teens in the Eastern European countries of Georgia and Armenia as part of a World Vision mission.
"They blew my mind," said Quigley, 17. "They have a passion for change."
Along with a worker and translator from World Vision, Quigley visited different rural communities around Georgia.
"Everything is very different," he said. "Running water sometimes doesn’t exist, sometimes there isn’t heating in schools."
Quigley recalls one school where it was up to the kids to make sure the school got heat.
"I remember seeing a massive pile of firewood, and I asked the kids what it was. They said they chopped it up during recess and that’s what keeps them warm," he said.
It was the Georgian youth’s passion for refusing to settle for the status quo that still resonates with Quigley.
He recalls meeting a 13-year-old girl living with cerebral palsy in rural Georgia.
"Where she is, there is no hospital and no medical care," Quigley explained.
"It was the other kids who raised money so she could have a wheelchair."
Quigley, meanwhile, has some new music in the works, with a video for his new single Our Generation being released Dec. 1.
The theme of the song is about encouraging people to take action for change in their communities and around the world.
According to James McLellan, Quigley’s media production teacher at Oak Park, "there are lots of people with tons of talent. But combined with Sean’s talent is a drive to better himself and better the world."
Quigley has his own view regarding his work. "It’s not about me, or me travelling with World Vision," he said. "It’s about encouraging everyone to get involved."
For videos of his trip, and his new music video, visit www.seanquigleyofficial.com.