Over the Easter break, IB1 students Mila Kendell, Madison Quig and Elena Menendez Sanchez from Y10 attended the Round Square Regional Conference for the Americas 2018, accompanied by science teacher Julie Gunther.
The conference took place at the Providence Day School in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the theme was “Empowered to Lead, Inspired to Serve”.
All Round Square conferences are action-packed, vibrant, social, and intellectual occasions which greatly enhance the ability of the young people who attend them to develop a broader world view, as well as a greater understanding of themselves.
During the busy schedule, students heard from an extraordinary motivational speaker, Spencer West, with the WE change organisation. They spent an afternoon at the US National Whitewater Centre where they built trust on high ropes courses and went white-water rafting on class 4 and 5 rapids.
They learnt about global education from Harvard University professor, Fernando Reimers, and also had a little fun learning a local North Carolina dance called “the shag”. This was all on the first day!
The second day began with performances by spoken word and hip-hop artists Kane Smego and Angelique (Giddy) Perez. The artists then gave students guidance on how to write poetry. Each person was invited to write a poem about intersectionality using the title “Ten things you need to know about being ...”.
In the afternoon, they toured the Carolina Panthers football stadium, the Nascar Hall of Fame, and the Levine Museum of the New South. The evening ended with a minor-league baseball game, the Charlotte Knights v Rochester Red Wings.
All Round Square trips have a service component to them and on the penultimate day of the RS conference, students spent the day giving back to the community.
They visited the Catawba Indian Nation, which is the only federally recognised tribe in the state of South Carolina, and learnt about the history and current plight of the Catawba Nation and other Native American tribes.
For the day, students helped with their food sovereignty programme, which hopes to provide sustainable food and resources to the reservation. Students planted 75 trees, including plum, pecan, persimmon, cherry and hazelnut. They also cleared an area of land and planted wild flower seeds that will ultimately attract insects to help pollinate the trees and other food crops. They also helped clear out some greenhouses and turn over their compost heap.
The conference was a busy and inspiring experience for the students as illustrated from IB1 student, Madison Quig’s testimonial:
“The trip was an amazing and unforgettable experience! Not only were the activities engaging and constructive, but we also got to meet people with different perspectives than ours, who grew up in different countries with diverse cultures.
“We made connections with new friends that will last a lifetime. This conference really broadened my horizons and allowed me to see outside of Bermuda and opened my eyes to new experiences.
“One of the most challenging but fun activities was the high ropes course that we participated in. It pushed us out of our comfort zone into what they call the ‘growth zone’.
“I think it taught all of us about leaning on each other and encouraging one another. One of the best parts of the trip was learning about the Native Americans and the knowledge that I gained from our day with them at the Katwaba Reservation.
“Since we live in other countries, some of us have never been educated about the Native Americans and what they have been through. I am so grateful that BHS and Round Square enabled me to have this opportunity. It is one that I will never forget!”