Illustration by Kaleigh Ferrel
America. Land of the free. Home of the brave. Birthplace of corn dogs. There’s a lot of things to appreciate about this country, and there’s more than enough room for improvement. However, my absolute, hands-down, favorite part is the way in which this country is so globally and culturally intricate, with ever-growing diversity and international relations.
The Global Scholars Diploma Program is a three-year-long program that teaches students about cross-cultural competency, awareness and how to effectively make a difference. The first two years consist mainly of traveling to meeting spots, such as Franklin University, and speaking with people from different countries and backgrounds.
The third year is the kicker. Once students are a level three Global Scholar, their full-year assignment is to choose a topic that they’re passionate about, and do something about it. Anything. “Pick anything and make a change” were essentially the words the advisers used.
The scholar in me who has been writing structured papers and solving for specific math answers my whole life was straight up dumbfounded. I grew up in organized, college-focused suburbia⎼where’s the rubric?
Well, what I managed to muster up was that I genuinely wish America would buckle down and start teaching its young kids foreign languages. Not the “take three years so colleges will accept you and then drop out” foreign language, but actual true learning biliteracy starting in Pre-K. As I see it, language is the gateway into understanding each other, and currently that’s something I think we really need.
So, I went to Walnut Creek Elementary Y-club and created a Spanish group for the kids after school. The results were unbelievable to me at that point in my life. I had taken the initiative, created something new and actually helpful, and watched the kids take in the new information like it was nothing. We did activities such as life-sized board games, Spanish Uno, a made-up hybrid game with a frisbee and Spanish colors, etc. The kids began blurting out Spanish without even thinking about it, and it was inspiring.
Moral of the story, Global Scholars helped me to realize that I had the potential to change things about this community, and that everyone has that potential. At the end of the year, a few of my peers and I presented our projects to the other levels of GSDP, and I was exponentially more proud and inspired than at the beginning of the year.
The Global Scholars program is one that I believe all students should be involved in. Yes, maybe my mom forced me into it when I was a freshman, but the lessons it teaches are invaluable; they’re not the status quo school lessons either.
So, I encourage every student to join. It’s a more difficult program to discover, but trust me, it’s a hidden gem. To join, one can ask their counselor, check schoology in grades seven, eight, and nine for any announcements, or contact the advisers. Rachel Dobney is the adviser for the Olentangy School District.
Whether it be Global Scholars, or another cultural program, learning about how one can impact the world, as well as how one can learn from it, are two of the most important lessons.