Global Trips: Student Leadership

A number of us are working to make this year’s global trips a whole-community experience. Previously, we made a strong push for teachers to include Botswana and HIV/AIDS in their course curricula. Now, we turn our attention to community events.

Botswana trip participants planned and presented an assembly to Upper School students last week. It was such a pleasure to sit in the audience and absorb the accuracy, significance, organization, and style of their presentation while playing no direct role except capturing it on video. This was for me the first realization of our ultimate goal of conferring as much trip planning responsibility as possible to the students. There is no need for the two adults to act as tour guides. This trip is for the students, and they will benefit so much more when the trip is also set up by the students.

The assembly included:

  • “Stand-up” activity for audience members to learn some key metrics about the effect of HIV and AIDS on the Botswana population. For example, the number of people living with AIDS is increasing, since antiretroviral treatment is now widely available, but the rate of new infections has not decreased significantly.
  • Skit adapted from a chapter of Saturday Is For Funerals (“the driver”), with a short introduction about the role of stigma in the AIDS crisis. I was so impressed with how two students selected a scene, memorized, and rehearsed the skit in a week’s time!
  • Presentation about the basic structure and activities of the trip. Without a comment from the adults, they did not at all mention the recreational portions of the trip — kept the presentation focused on the business.
  • Explanation of how students can help raise funds and send school supplies to villages that need it.

At least seven of the 13 trip participants got up on stage, and they completed all of this within 15 minutes. Transitions were very crisp, and for the most part, students avoided digressing while on stage.

Next up in our month of community presentations:

 

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