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The Impact of IDEALS

This past weekend I travelled with Patricia Westerhof, our Young Round Square Representative, to Palmer Trinity School in Miami for our Annual Round Square Regional meetings. Palmer Trinity is an Episcopal Co-Ed Day School for students from Grades 6-12.

Our opening meeting began with a prayer written and read by The Reverend Dr. Mary Ellen Cassini. The prayer, recognizing our Round Square IDEALS of Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership, and Service, set the tone for our time together.

Reverend Dr. Cassini said, “May our students embrace the global village without bias and engage in the world by safely exploring freedom of thought and speech. We ask that we learn each day to cherish our precious resources and protect this ‘fragile earth our island home.’ Help us to take risks and to realize that our potential is much greater than our expectations. Let us be humble leaders, encountering others with kindness, responsibility, and justice. Finally allow us to make positive contributions in sustainable ways so we might improve the lives of others.”

This was a wonderful way to begin our meetings- framing how, as educators, we should be approaching our students’ growth.

At the end of our two days of meetings, we closed with two Palmer Trinity Alumni, Andrea Ortiz ’12 and Sebastian Nicholls ’12, reflecting on what their learning at school and through global experiences have taught them thus far.

Nicholls demonstrated his belief for the value of humility and the leaders who encounter others with kindness, responsibility and justice when he said, “There is far more complexity now: people are confusing ideologies in which they don’t believe, with hate. This becomes a barrier to seeking to understand, debating and growing.”

Ortiz acknowledged the complexities of engaging in the world by exploring freedom of thought and speech when she articulated that “international experiences are vital in order to get away and be provided with different perspectives. If you love your country, it does not mean that you should support it blindly, but rather always work to make it better. “

It was uplifting to walk away from two days of discussions about Round Square and our work as globally connected innovative schools, with evidence of our students’ learning and perspective on our important IDEALS. The discussions confirmed the importance- particularly in these challenging times in our world- of the work we do.

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