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How GNS Students are Becoming Global Citizens

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“We must learn about other cultures in order to understand, in order to love, and in order to preserve our common world heritage.” – Yo Yo Ma As a Round Square school, staff and students at GNS are empowered to actively teach and learn about global citizenship—the concept that all people have rights and civic responsibilities as members of the world. Global citizens are compassionate, empathetic, courageous, open-minded, and respect diversity. These qualities resonate with the core values of our school and the attributes of our IB Learner Profile. As Sarah McKerlich, our Senior School Round Square Coordinator, puts it, “I am so thankful for the this program; it offers 200 schools around the world, the opportunity to learn about and celebrate other cultures, through our local student leadership program, the Round Square Committee, or our Round Square experience program that offers exchanges, global leadership conferences, and service and cultural projects.” Ms. McKerlich and Round Square Prefect, Augustina Flores Pitton, recently organized a panel discussion in assembly where current students who have already taken advantage of some of these Round Square experiences shared inspiring recollections with their peers. Students spoke of the friendships and connections they made with people from around the world and the opportunities they had to try new and unusual foods. For some, the experiences allowed them to learn new things about themselves and how to cope in unfamiliar situations like how to communicate through language barriers. Others felt the way they viewed things was changed. “One thing that really changed for me was my view about school. In Peru, only about half the population is able to go school,” said Ismay Macklin, who went on exchange last spring to Markham College. “When talking to people at the school who were lucky enough to be able to go to a school that had Round Square and IB, they said they put 150% into their school work and their school community because they felt so lucky to be able to go to school that it would be wrong of them not to.” The students all felt the Round Square experiences they had were valuable and that their peers should consider taking advantage of what was offered even if it meant missing some school or co-curricular activities. “Don’t worry about missing school,” says Chris Graham, who has been on exchange and done service projects. “The teachers understand and help you catch up. And it is worth it.” Students who wish to get involved and take part in Round Square activities, should contact Ms. McKerlich or Augustina.