ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — About 18,000 students didn’t have to buy their ticket to see a big concert in St. Paul Tuesday, they earned it.

WE Day Minnesota brought together students and teachers from all over the state to celebrate their accomplishments in volunteering this past year.

The second man to walk on the moon spoke at the Xcel Energy Center. He was just one of many speakers and performers who encouraged kids to make real change in the world. Buzz Aldrin, now 86, talked about the importance of educational programs to inspire the next generation of space exploration.

“I’m very interested in laying the groundwork for the next generation,” he said.

Dr. Aldrin’s foundation works to educate kids about science technology. He says he wants to see what inspired him as a space explorer in the 1960s to be the same inspiration for kids today.

Christian Stohlmann, a 17-year-old, is just one of the 18,000 students in Minnesota who are volunteering to make a difference.

“We can’t just sit back and try and rely on other people to do it when we are the next people and we need to put our foot forward,” Stohlmann said.

Tuesday was their reward for taking part in one local and one global service project this past year. Sarah Croteau from Champlin volunteers at animal shelters, nature centers and libraries. She also helps the homeless through her church by organizing food drives. Sarah says the speakers and performers today are proof that there’s no limit to what she can do.

“It inspires me to do more and more and more because now I know I really can make a difference along with everyone else here,” Sarah said.

Other speakers and performers on Tuesday included singer and dancer Paula Abdul, George Takei from Star Trek and Disney Channel star Sabrina Carpenter. Carpenter believes when kids see their peers volunteering, it makes them want to get up and follow their dreams.

“That’s truly what’s going to help our world. It’s the small steps that make a big change,” she said.