Keystone Students Venture to Canada during the Golden Week
During the Golden Week, Director of Residential Life and Global and Service Initiatives Juli James and Rick Spadafora, Assistant Head of the High School traveled to Ottawa, Canada with six secondary school students to attend the Round Square International Conference. Hosted by Ashbury College, the seven-day event proved to be a transformative experience for students, who delved into topics such as diversity and inclusion, and interfaced with prominent keynote speakers such as the current first lady of Canada, Madame Trudeau.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Bring Your Difference”. The conference took place outdoors in both urban and rural/country settings, with students immersing themselves in adventure and service themed activities during the day such as hiking, zip lining, and rafting. Opening the ceremony were several keynote speakers across numerous industries, ranging from the sciences to art and business.
Students engaged with peers from around the world in a multitude of panels, gaining exposure to global issues such as climate change, cross-cultural refugee and migratory practices, and indigenous populations in Canada. Students also learned the art of cultivating empathy, embracing discomfort and difference, cultural differences amongst the indigenous people of Canada, and methods for change and adaptability in the modern world.
Grade 12 student Jasmin Zheng praised this year’s Round Square International Conference, saying “By attending this conference, I learned about so many different global perspectives. I experienced various kinds of diversity in previously attended programs, however, students in the Round Square are special. They are more willing to speak with other people regardless of race, background, or nationality. By speaking with them throughout this conference, I gained so much knowledge from different parts of the world.”
The six Keystone students were so incredibly inspired by their week in Canada, immediately before their return to China they began brainstorming with Juli James on how to bring more diversity and inclusion initiatives to the Keystone community.
“I want to introduce the concept of “global citizenry” to Keystone.We should know about things that happen outside of China. Knowing about different cultures, current issues, caring about them… that’s what it truly means to be a global citizen” remarked Ms. Zheng.