Participants in the AHS Global Engagement program partook in the third annual Global Summit at the Cormier Youth Center on Friday, March 2. It was held to teach students about food production with a global lens, in part through chat sessions with other countries.

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Global Engagement students chat with people from Mexico while making use of the Portal. (Photo by Anna Riley)

Students learned about the global effects of food production before competing in a design challenge. Groups created prototypes for products and programs to solve problems like food waste and malnutrition. Rice Powell, CEO of Fresenius Medical Care, was featured as the summit’s keynote speaker. After the design challenge, students had the opportunity to participate in break-out sessions involving cooking and art.

One of the main features of the summit was a large, gold, inflatable cube called the pPortal. Through the Portal, created by a company called Shared Studios, students can fully engage in conversations with people in other Portals around the world. Users can see their chat partner’s full body and hear their voice. There are currently 23 set up across the globe, but on Friday the students were able to communicate specifically with the one in Mexico City. Students shared their design challenge prototypes with people in Mexico through the Portal and became acquainted with them. 

Sophomore Emily Swenson, a member of the Global Engagement 2020 cohort, said she thought the Portal was an amazingly immersive experience. “We went in and it was like we were having a conversation with this person in Mexico City,” Swenson said. “We learned a lot about each other and I think it was a good connection.” (See other article for more on the Portal.)

The Portal is a representation of what the Global Engagement program is about as a whole. The Andover Public Schools website states that ““the Endorsement of Global Engagement program (EGE) is an opportunity for students to earn an official certification attached to the Andover High School transcript stating that the student has gone beyond normal expectations to analyze, interact and develop global competence and understanding, which will lead to future success in an increasingly interconnected world.”

The program has become increasingly popular as cohort sizes have grown year by year; a cohort is a group of Global Scholars. Swenson said, “I joined Global Engagement because I really want to make a difference in the world and I think it’s important to reach out to things and organizations outside our community. I think Global Engagement is a good program to help me achieve the things I want to achieve.”

Mr. Chinosi, director of strategic innovation for Andover Public Schools, as well as a Global Engagement advisor, said that he was inspired to join the program after Ms. de Kelley, AHS director of guidance, and Dr. Allen, AHS World Language Program head, came to him with their idea for the program three years ago. Global cohort advisor and AHS science teacher Ms. Gupte said that her goal for the program is to “make the students have the global experience and also promote world travel,” as well as to “help them broaden their horizons.”

Members of the class of 2021 can fill out the Global Scholar application here and turn it in by March 23, 2018.

By Anna Riley