This quarter at NSA, students came to a realization of how important developing leadership skills could be for individuals as well as for our community. In response to this epiphany, students took the initiative to work with staff to organize a weekly club which develops those critical leadership skills.
Each week, the LEAD Club meets to learn about and discuss topics which include assertive communication, leading by example, effective body language, and public speaking.
The student-created LEAD Club is not only a great example of NSA students being empowered to develop programmatic aspects, but a valuable resource for them and our community.
This quarter’s Community Service Aventura was one for the record books. With a recent reduction of Osa Conservation staff, help was desperately needed and NSA’s group of students and staff logged nearly 100 miles on foot in order to rise to the challenge. The students assisted with the demolition and reconstruction of a bamboo turtle hatchery, performed various greenhouse and gardening chores including relocating hundreds of pounds of dirt and beach pebbles.
They patrolled the beach for eggs each midnight and sunrise and studied in daily academic classes and PG assignments. Students kept extremely positive attitudes while continuing to exceed expectations both physically and academically.
Students commented that doing good feels good, and agreed that the trip highlight was stumbling upon 18 turtles hatching and beginning their own exciting life journey.
As New Summit Academy’s midterm week came to a close, the entire Academic faculty and student body turned the final day before Aventura into a unique learning experience. Students traveled in four groups – based on their cohort from the Global Citizenship Foundation Course – to different sites in the Central Valley to explore real-life situations where the facets of Global Citizenship are being promoted.
Newer students traveled with Adam, our Global Citizenship coordinator and organizer of the event, to Costa Rica’s University for Peace. At this United Nations-mandated higher education institution, the students performed community service, met with current UPeace students to exchange ideas about Global Citizenship, and engaged in a workshop on the Earth Charter. The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. The Earth Charter International Secretariat is located at the UPEACE Campus in Costa Rica.
A second group of students – delving into the topic of sustainable development – traveled to a nearby organic farm. Here they learned from the farm manager – a young man who is transforming the “traditional” methods of farming using chemicals and genetically-modified foods. Students learned about his efforts to reintroduce ancient farming techniques using methods of permaculture, natural pesticides and organic fertilizers. Students also pitched in, helping to build planter boxes for future crops.
The third group traveled to the office of The Tico Times, the largest English-language newspaper in Central America. With the goal of exploring ideas of social justice and digital citizenship (the Times went 100% digital in recent years), students interviewed journalists at the newspaper about recent articles. Students were also excited to learn that this respected newspaper was started in the mid-1950’s by young students at the very same high school where they take their SAT and ACT exams!
NSA’s oldest students traveled to the Puriscal Valley reserve of Quitirrisi – home to the indigenous Guetares people. Students learned that the Guetares were once the largest, most dominant group of natives in Costa Rica, but that the Spanish conquest had diminished their population from tens of thousands to a mere 1,800 today. The son of the chief welcomed students into the village, and gave them an oral history of the people. Students then gathered firewood for a traditional spiritual cleansing ceremony, before working together with the chief’s son to clean the streets of litter.
Each group returned to campus with stories to tell about their Global Citizenship experiences. The Academic faculty plan to make these Field Learning trips a tradition for each mid-quarter week, which will only help enrich our one-of-a-kind program!
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