“It brings the community together around a topic we can delve into,” said Anderson. “By highlighting a global theme, we can apply academic knowledge in all different ways. It helps develop a cultural appreciation of how different societies deal with these problems as well as a global mindset around cultures, genders and more.”
In the upper school, students delve into rhetoric and language around the annual topic in academic papers, articles and editorials. Math and computer science classes work with data and statistics. Lower and middle schoolers tackle concrete concerns around the theme that this year include looking at diseases that inspired medical inventions, what issues modern medicine is tackling now and what treatments are being created to address the current crisis.
“There’s a heightened awareness since they’ve been learning and reading about [the pandemic],” said Anderson. “There’s a lot of knowledge we can harness that might not have been there in the past.”
Junior Pranavh Pradeep is part of the center’s Global Scholar program, and after spending last year studying health programs around HIV/AIDS, was excited to continue the health theme this year.
“What first sparked my interest was doing Model UN, where I learned about the World Health Organization and its impact on global health, especially in third-world countries,” he said. “This program offers an understanding that goes beyond the classroom setting. We’re immersing ourselves in reading about what’s happening around the migration of the virus and people, and trying to understand how global health affects the world population.”
Senior Olivia Ullmann is interested in a medical career and sees the program as a chance to effect change, even if it’s just by passing out hand sanitizers to fellow students.
“It gives me the chance to change things in my community and to speak with peers who have the same interests,” she said. “I’ve gotten the chance to do research, learn information to create pamphlets and speak with professionals on this topic. It’s been amazing to hear other people’s perspectives.”
It turns out a global pandemic has valuable teaching moments, said Anderson.
“Our kids are living in the middle of something real that is a true global issue,” she said. “The idea that the world has to work together to solve some problems is a hurdle we don’t have to help them see.”
SEND US YOUR STORIES. Each week we look at programs, projects and successful endeavors at area schools, from pre-K to grad school. To suggest a story, contact H.M. Cauley at email@example.com or 770-744-3042.