On April 24, 2012 Greens Farms Academy celebrated its first World Perspectives Symposium, a celebration of students’ independent research and an opportunity to increase our students’ connection to and engagement with the world beyond the classroom walls.
The day began with a wonderful keynote presentation by Mr. Michael Singh on the role of the United States in the Middle East. Mr. Singh’s humor and delivery made the complex decision-making process of diplomats transparent to all, Middle and Upper School students alike. The richness of his experience and expertise was a fantastic way to kick off our day. Following the keynote presentation, the Middle and Upper Schools parted ways for the remainder of the program.
The 6th grade headed off to the the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk where, in addition to seeing the regular exhibits, they were able to see an IMAX film entitle To the Arctic. The 7th-grade students spent the better part of the day studying the health of our own salt march ecosystems while the 8th-graders participated in a Model UN activity that was designed by the Middle School history teachers.
Following Mr. Singh’s talk, students in the Upper School International Relations and Black Gold courses had the opportunity to have small group discussions with our keynote speaker, which allowed him to discuss in greater depth many of the topics upon which he had touched in his keynote speech. All Upper School students spent the rest of the day hearing formal presentations from our first cohort to have the opportunity to graduate with a diploma with a concentration in Global Studies. Students in the Global Thesis and Challenge 20/20 programs as well as a handful of students who have spent the year in the Science Research program presented to their peers. Our students’ research was just as well prepared and clearly presented as we would have hoped. What was perhaps most exciting, however, was the earnest interest with which the student body peppered their classmates with questions and the aplomb with which our scholars responded. It was inspiring to see this kind of intellectual engagement in the community. Also, as a part of the cooperation between our Foundations of World History and Biology courses, students had the opportunity to engage in conversation with Mr. Peter Luckow of Tiyatien Health, an NGO that seeks to provide access to health care for rural Liberians. The students in these course had been doing a comparative study of medieval and contemporary societies’ responses to epidemic. As a part of this study they examined the AIDS epidemic and the bubonic plague. Students in these courses were enthralled by Mr. Luckow’s experiences working in post-war Liberia.
In short, the day was a great success and the faculty, parents and members of the community were all very proud of the work that GFA students have done. In the coming weeks we will embed some video presentations from this symposium. Stay tuned.