At the Prize Day ceremonies later this week, eight St. Markers will receive the first-ever Global Diplomas awarded by the School.
An innovative initiative of the St. Mark's Global Citizenship Program, the Global Diploma provides the opportunity for those students whose passion lies in the area of global citizenship to deepen their understanding of this topic. Global Diploma candidates participated in a cohort that met regularly and encouraged reflection on their course of study and local and global engagement. Students also completed a capstone experience, allowing them to translate their curricular and extracurricular experiences to responsible action in the real world.
The School's Global Citizenship Initiative recognizes that a global education is a critical component of a 21st century education. The goal of the Global Citizenship Program, through both curricular and extracurricular offerings, is to help our students see and appreciate the distinctive features and the beauty that exist in the variety of cultures of the world, to appreciate the human universals that make all people more similar than different, and to inspire our students. To meet this goal, the Global Citizenship Program works to provide opportunities for all students to be exposed to global learning through the acquisition of the skills, habits of mind, and knowledge that will equip them to become global citizens.
The eight VI Formers receiving Global Citizenship Diplomas at the 2020 virtual Prize Day on June 6 are: William Appel, Paige LaMalva, Sierra Petties, Rebecca Porter, Illia Rebechar, Kian Sahani, Naila Strong, and Grace Zawadzki.
In order to achieve Global Diploma recognition, they each were required to take the Global Seminar (if entering as III Formers), the Advanced Studies in Global Citizenship course as a V or VI Former, and demonstrate proficiency in a modern language to level Four or beyond. They also had to undertake the aforementioned Capstone Project, participate in Global Diploma Cohort meetings, and take elective courses approved by the Global Diploma committee.
In addition, there were specific requirements of community/global engagement. They had to take part in at least two of the following options: Global Ambassadors, a local or global service learning project, and/or assume leadership roles in the Haiti Partnership, the UNICEF Club, the Model UN, or another globally focused on-campus program.
Also, they had to demonstrate their intercultural competency by attending either the Global Citizenship Institute, the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, or the White Privilege Conference; by participating in an international St. Mark's travel or exchange program, an approved international independent travel program, a School Year Abroad, or an approved local program (The Mountain School, Maine Coast Semester, or Brantwood); and by writing a reflective essay on each conference or travel experience.
Finally, the Global Diploma Candidates had to create a digital portfolio that highlighted their growth as global citizens both personally and academically. Highlights of those portfolios included thoughtful reflections about the current COVID-19 situation that affected many of our VI Formers in profound ways.
"The values of leadership and service, creative, analytic, and cooperative work, and exploring the larger world, which are reflected in our mission statement, are also reflected in what it means to be a global citizen," says Dr. Laura Appell-Warren, director of Global Citizenship at St. Mark's. "I am particularly proud of this first class of Global Diploma recipients many of whom were slated to travel on a school travel program during spring break. They all approached their work this spring with dedication and resilience. I am very proud of them all!"
On Monday, June 1, the eight inaugural Global Diploma recipients took part in an online presentation where they shared highlights from their portfolios and from their experiences in the program. Will Appell spoke of the impact the school-sponsored trip to Iceland had on him. He approached it, he said, "like it was a vacation" and after experiencing the people and culture there, he came away from the trip "with a passion for global citizenship." Paige LaMalva spoke of her trip to France in 2018, and how the time in the Global Citizenship program improved her capacity for empathy. Sierra Pettis emphasized empathy as well, but also the need to "listen to others." Through listening she discovered a greater understanding of others and of the world. Illia Rebechar found his love for theater and storytelling influenced him, and by learning about Polynesian theatrical traditions and practices, he gained insight into the global and political aspects of theater. Becca Porter shared that her year abroad in Italy was a highlight of her global citizenship experience. At the end of her time there she was able to write a six page paper in Italian: a psychanalysis of Italian culture. Kian Sahani was greatly impacted by a TedTalk given by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, entitled "The Danger of a Single Story." It taught him, he said, that we never have the complete story about anything, and that the world should be examined from a variety of perspectives. Through his global citizenship experience he came to understand "the danger of only seeing the world through a single lens." Naila Strong spoke about her service trip to the Dominican Republic and her time as an exchange student in Australia. She used poetry in her Global Citizenship portfolio, to help her empathize and develop cultural appreciation. "You can learn so much about other cultures through their poetry," she said. Finally, Grace Zawadski saw her cultural immersion in trips to Chile and Spain help her see the difference between perception and perspective.
Click on student names below to link with examples of Global Diploma portfolios.
Congratulations to the first-ever recipients of the St. Mark's Global Diploma. Students will receive their special diploma and a Global Diploma lapel pin in June of 2021 when we will celebrate their graduation in person.