This year, 10 high school students participated in one of two tours – “Leveraging STEM to Protect Human Rights” or “Education as a Human Right” which both culminated at the 2016 EF Global Student Leaders Summit in The Hague, Netherlands and focused on the theme “Exploring Human Rights.”
“Being in England in the days leading up to the Brexit was amazing. We were truly eye witnesses to history being made,” said Julie Bell, Mariemont High School teacher. “Everywhere we went, it was on the minds and lips of all those we encountered and we learned about all the perspectives and reasons for the different viewpoints.”
This leadership and global experience was offered to the Mariemont High School students as part of Warriors BEyond, which is the district’s flagship program for student opportunities offered beyond the traditional curriculum in grades kindergarten through 12. There are four overarching pillars that define the Warriors BEyond offerings: enrichment activities, service learning, travel experiences and career opportunities.
This once-in-a-lifetime leadership experience brought young leaders from around the world together to inspire each other and collaborate to solve global challenges, allowing students to expand their global understanding and strengthen their voices.
Mariemont High School senior Amanda Lewis used her voice and inspiration to create a video examining education as a human right and won an award for her video.
Zach Schnug, district Warriors BEyond coordinator, received the following statement from the Summit coordinators: Out of over 285 student videos, Amanda Lewis’s stood out to a panel of judges as a winning project. Because of her creative and compelling discussion about human rights she will have the opportunity to share a table with Summit speakers [including Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times columnist and author; Sheryl Wudunn, humans rights author; Ndaba Mandela, grandchild of Nelson Mandela; and Arun Gandhi, grandchild of Gandhi] at an exclusive VIP lunch in The Hague, Netherlands.
“The Global Student Leaders Summit truly gave me a world class experience. I not only toured four new countries, but I also explored the issue of human rights,” said Amanda Lewis. “Overall the Global Student Leaders Summit provided me with an incredible global experience. And my experience with touring was incredible as well. I even got to meet up with a friend of mine who had just moved back to Geneva, Switzerland.”
Learning how to navigate public transportation, traveling abroad for the first time, seeing the world from all different perspectives, eating different foods, meeting students from all over the globe and comparing and contrasting experiences all played a part in their journey as well.
“In Switzerland, Belgium and France, every place we visited and toured, the kids and I were taken aback by how wonderful it was to be there in person,” said Zach Schnug. “Pictures don’t do it justice. The students each had their different places that they said ‘I want to come back here for sure.’ It was a life-changing experience for everyone.”
Through the Warriors BEyond program and experiences such as this, Mariemont City School District students have the opportunity to explore interests, find passions and dig deeper into the school curriculum.
“The Warriors BEyond program speaks volumes for the innovation that defines and will continue to define our school district,” said Steven Estepp, superintendent. “This is the important work we must do as a school system if we are going to keep our students competitive with their peers around the globe."