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Best of the Week 2020-2021: Holy Cross Values



Congratulations to IB Diploma candidates Parker Croston '21, Marty Dubecky '21, Emerson Gray '21 and Jack O'Brien '21 who received Global Cleveland's Youth Leader Award for their Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) project. Over the past six months, these four students collaborated on Global Cleveland's annual Sister Cities project with professors, college and high school students in Volgograd, Russia. Working virtually with international educators and students, our Edsmen navigated challenges presented by the pandemic and time-zone differences to create a website that emphasized cultural similarities between Cleveland and Volgograd. "These four IB DP seniors began this project as part of their CAS requirement for the IB Diploma, and committed to critically reflecting on their newfound appreciation of another culture in Global Cleveland's massive, international Sister Cities conference," says Associate Dean of Academics and IB Coordinator Nick Kuhar. "This project was an exercise in rigorous historical research and creative digital design, two of St. Edward's noted Strands of Innovation, that led all parties to appreciate the striking connections between two geographically-distant locations. Weeks later, we were thrilled to learn that Global Cleveland announced that Parker, Marty, Emerson and Jack would all be presented the Youth Leader Award at their Annual Meeting on December 10, 2020."

"When Mr. Kuhar first approached us about this experience, I immediately jumped on this opportunity because I knew there currently aren't too many opportunities to learn about another country like this during the pandemic," says Jack. "The IB philosophy of becoming global learners was something that I found pretty evident as soon as I began the project. You can never really assume anything about another culture until you've met the people and have had your own experiences with that culture. Our country's cultural differences and our ability to learn from those differences is something that I think can help all of us to become more open-minded. The way that all of us, here in Cleveland and those in Volgograd, worked together allowed us to begin building bridges between our cultures." "When we began talking to our friends from Russia we realized that our two cities, Cleveland and Volgograd, had a lot more in common than we first thought. We share many of the same social and political problems that much of the world is suffering from. Instead of simply coming up with one common social problem in both cities, we decided to create a website detailing all of the similarities between the two cities as a place where other students could go to learn," says Marty. "The experience gave me a sense of solidarity and hope, as we aren't really alone in the problems we face. We had all these students from across the world coming together to solve problems they see in their communities. We weren't given any agenda to follow, it was just us students collaborating on what we thought was important." "This project really taught me how important it is to use our technology more to connect with people around the world and share our cultures," says Parker. "Our project really embodied the IB philosophy of an international education to develop our intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills by collaborating with people around the world and establishing relationships with them to connect us even more." "IB is all about being open to new possibilities and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone," says Emerson. "Our world is growing more and more interconnected every day, and an experience like this is necessary if we want to bring about significant change in our world after college."

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