The international baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. -IB Mission Statement
In our quest to develop intercultural understanding and respect, indeed to become true citizens of the world, it is critical that we stretch our literal and metaphorical borders as often as possible. As an IB World School, we are mindful of our responsibility to promote appreciation of the larger world. One of the ways we do so is by including LCA International Day in our celebration of Catholic Schools Week.
As we entered Catholic Schools Week, international mindedness was on display at our 6th grade 18-hole UNESCO World Heritage Site Miniature Golf Course. Sixth grade teams did a wonderful job of featuring their designated sites within the context of their holes. Through research and exploration, student teams grew very familiar with each site’s surrounding area and culture. Several teams included details that reflected local custom, language, tradition, or history. One of the team members featuring Mt. Emei in China explained, “It took a long time to write each sentence in order to make our sign in Mandarin, but it was worth it!” The team featuring Virunga National Park in Africa shared complex historical information that recognized the impact of political conflict on the local ecology.
Celebrating LCA International Day has become a Catholic Schools Week tradition. International Day was celebrated on Friday. Activities included an introduction to the concept of fair trade along with a shopping opportunity courtesy of the One World Shop, multilingual schoolwide Bingo, a flag finding contest, and numerous classroom activities. While we celebrated all cultures, we highlighted Ecuador this year as a “feature” country. This extended to our dining hall where a delicious lunch of arroz con pollo with empanadas was prepared by our incredibly talented dining hall chefs, and to our daily prayers which were shared in Spanish by Chrissy Krncevic and William Finucane. We look forward to hearing about the experiences of our 25 students and staff members who will visit Ecuador this June and volunteer to help build a school there!
At the root of international mindedness is curiosity. Curiosity is defined as “a strong desire to know or learn something.” Curiosity, by its very nature, opens us up to new learning, new experiences, and new ideas. It implies no prejudgement, only a desire for growth. As we listened to the beautiful Spanish prayers, so eloquently shared by our students, as we ate delicious Ecuadorian food prepared by our fabulous kitchen staff, and as we researched facts about each country whose flag we located, we became a bit more open, a bit more curious about the world beyond our own borders.
International mindedness and our development as global citizens cannot be limited to one day per year. However, highlighting and celebrating our world as part of Catholic Schools Week reinforces what it means to be part of a global community, charged with creating a better and more peaceful world.
~Eileen McGuire, Dean of the International Baccalaureate Program