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Upper School: Global Leaders

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Students in our Upper School move into leadership roles in a variety of schoolwide initiatives, completing their education in the three pillars of Global Studies.

Language & Culture

Students study literature, film and history from multiple perspectives (e.g., discussing the Vietnam War from both American and Vietnamese perspectives). They practice yoga and learn Shinto, the craft of Chinese painting and letter writing. Co-curricular activities include Model UN, Challenge 20/20, Diversity Club, French Club and Global Council.


Service learning is encouraged in the classroom through projects such as the Kiva project in the global issues class, where students debate who would be the most sustainable recipient of a micro-loan, and then give out an actual loan. Students also participate in the Service Club and organize special programs such as Dance 4 Life, a dance show that raises money for AIDS research, and a cultural assembly where students share their cultures with the whole school.


Sustainability is an important topic in science and math classes; students participate in the River Watch and Forest Watch programs, where they go out to local forest preserves and research invasive species and water quality.

Special Initiatives

  • Project Week extends our curriculum by bringing Upper School students and teachers together outside the classroom to share a broader range of learning experiences. Students pursue their interests and expand their horizons by spending a week each spring exploring at home and abroad. Visit our Project Week page for more information.
  • The Heifer International Retreat brings all freshmen and sophomore transfer students to the Heifer International global village in Howell, Mich., for a two-day retreat in which they lay the foundation for their Global Studies education by learning about culture and sustainability. Visit our Heifer International page for more information.
  • Our Exchange Program offers opportunities for students to live and study abroad for a few weeks or a full summer. Through our close relationships with sister schools such as the Sutton Valence School in England, Wilhelm-Gymnasium in Germany and Westminster School in Australia, students explore different countries and cultures, and often return the favor by hosting exchange students from those schools the following year.

Global Diplomats & Global Ambassadors

Students who would like to receive special recognition for their work in the three pillars can work towards a Global Scholars Leadership diploma (PDF) as a Global Diplomat or Global Ambassador. For students working towards these diplomas, a record of all global studies activities that go beyond school requirements, as well as corresponding points, are kept in an online portfolio.

Guided by their own interests, students who are working towards these diplomas work on special initiatives each year. The microfinance project described above was one such example; others have included working with Project Focus on raising awareness and money to set up an internet cafe in Uganda.

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