For the second summer, local Allendale Columbia students participated in the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) here in Rochester. IYLEP* is a four-week exchange program for promising Iraqi students to visit different U.S. cities and learn about leadership, peacebuilding, and civic engagement. Rochester is the only host city that has American students participate in the IYLEP program for the full two weeks, which allows them to build a strong bond and further break down stereotypes and misconceptions.
“Before this program, what I thought and knew of Iraq was based off what I see in the news, and sure, we have our differences, but we have way more in common than I thought,” said AC student Garrett Wilson.
During their time in Rochester, Iraqi and AC students visited an array of places, ranging from workshops at the M.K. Gandhi Institute, site visits to Rochester International Academy, a service project at Foodlink, and a night out at a Red Wings game.
On August 16th, students, host parents, and members of the community gathered in the Curtis Performance Center for the IYLEP Student Showcase. As guests trickled in, IYLEP participants laughed, sang NSYNC, and posed for selfies together, further proving that teenagers are teenagers, no matter where they’re from.
“Just because we’re from different places, it doesn’t mean we have different kinds of hearts.” – Mikayla Gross ‘19
Showcase presentations included a student-produced video highlighting the activities and friendships formed over the course of the two weeks in Rochester; a skit depicting some of the cultural differences identified between American and Iraqi students; and a touching thank you video to the host families. Many participants spoke about the lasting impact of the program, including the simple experiences like living with pets or riding a bike.
The evening concluded with the presentation of awards to the IYLEP participants by RGC Executive Director, Cecelia Hencke, and Program Facilitator, Mary Beth Moyer, followed by a friendly mix and mingle over refreshments in the Dining Commons.
“The lasting impact of this program is the person-to-person connection formed between people from diverse backgrounds,” said Hencke. “It increases international understanding and promotes positive U.S. foreign relations and a more peaceful and prosperous world. The program has a multiplier effect because the students are now ambassadors of one another’s country and will help further breakdown the stereotypes or misconceptions.”
Allendale Columbia School has been involved with IYLEP since 2017, when the AC Center for Global Engagement partnered with Rochester Global Connections (RGC), a local nonprofit organization that promotes cultural exchange, to bring this opportunity to our community. Local high school students who participate in the program are eligible to receive accreditation from AC’s Center for Global Engagement. This year’s participants included 11 high school students and one adult mentor from Iraq and eight local Allendale Columbia students.
Since the program’s founding in 2007, IYLEP has brought more than 2,300 promising Iraqi high school and undergraduate students to the U.S. In addition to promoting mutual understanding between the people of Iraq and the U.S., IYLEP also fosters relationships within the diverse group of Iraqi participants, who represent a broad range of ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds.
During their program, IYLEP participants visit two to three U.S. cities where they engage in experiential learning activities and cultural exchange. Upon their return to Iraq, they implement projects in their communities, such as organizing peace festivals and providing relief services to refugees and orphans. As an investment in global understanding and peace, IYLEP has created a cadre of future leaders of Iraq.
It is clear this program benefits both American and Iraqi students alike. Together, it prepares them to become global leaders- to learn global empathy, compassion, and humility. They learn leadership skills- such as working with people from diverse backgrounds, problem solving, teamwork, dialogue, and self confidence. From this experience, students are prepared to be successful in our global and diverse society and be empowered to make a positive difference in our community and communities around the world.
“We hope to continue this program on an annual basis, so I encourage local students to apply!” said Hencke.
*IYLEP is sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by World Learning.
Posted in: Global Engagement, Highlights, Partnerships
Every year at the end of the spring semester, Middle and Upper School students at Allendale Columbia complete their usual curriculum and begin May Term. May Term exists to provide educational opportunities outside of the normal structures of the school year to support intellectual discovery, encourage collaboration, and foster community involvement.
Here are some May Term highlights so far this year:
- Students learned about honey bees, built a beehive, planted flora that bees love, and installed a starter colony of bees at the school garden in the “Buds and Bees” course led by Mrs. Guzzetta and Mr. Costanzo. Students will continue to monitor the hive and harvest honey in the fall.
- A panel of judges from the AC Kitchen and maintenance evaluated student culinary creations in a Master Chef-type competition, with students presenting the science behind the creation of those food items in the “Science of Cooking” course led by Ms. Crosby and senior Gio Martino.
- In “Human Impacts on the Environment”, AC students worked with students from the World of Inquiry School 58 at a Water Quality Summit in Rochester to understand the Genesee River ecosystem, which was featured on WROC and WXXI. Mrs. Lisi and Mr. Godkin led this session.
- In “Life Underwater”, students explored the flora and fauna in Corbett’s Glen with Mrs. Guzzetta.
- Students visited the Women’s Rights Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls as part of “Nevertheless, She Persisted” (above) with Mr. Neeley
Other topics included:
- Positive Psychology
- The Great Outdoors
- Console Wars: The History of Video Gaming
- Be Here Now: Mindfulness as a Practice
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What would Susan and Frederick Think? The Legacy of Rochester’s Agitators
- Muse: Making a Magazine
- Bilingual Theatre
- Building, flying and using drones for media production
- Music with Kids
- Confidence & Courage: Dare to Show Up, Be Seen, & Be Brave
- Wheelin’ Through Rochester’s History
- Stigma and Mental Health: Issues and Interventions
- Ornithology Science and Art
- Exhibition Night Planning
- Grow Your Own Food
- Social Impact Filmmaking
- Day Trading and Cryptocurrency Lab
- Making Community Service a Way of Life
- 2019 College Workshop
- The AC Genome Project
- Innocence and Guilt: Learning about the Law
We’ll have additional updates as May Term progresses. Everyone is also welcome to participate in an interactive May Term Exhibition Night where students will discuss their projects on Thursday, May 7th from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
by Ariane Baer-Harper, Director of the AC Center for Global Engagement
During Spring Break in 2018, 12 Allendale Columbia students went to Dakar, Senegal, to participate in an entrepreneurship program entitled, Developing Entrepreneurship Skills through Intercultural Collaboration. This eight-day program was created by the AC Center for Global Engagement, the AC Center for Entrepreneurship, and Baobab Consulting, a company based in New York City and Dakar which specializes in facilitating collaboration between cultures through innovation. Throughout the program, AC students were paired with Senegalese high school students and were tasked to come up with an innovative social entrepreneurship idea.
WROC News 8 interviewed two students and Director of the AC Center for Global Engagement, Ariane Baer-Harper.
(Photos by Garrett Wilson ’21, Anna Mihalyov ’19, and John Palomaki)
All students, with trip leaders Ariane Baer-Harper (Director of Global Engagement) and Gabe Costanzo (Music and Band instructor), stayed at the Tostan Training Facility in Thiès, about 40 km outside of Dakar. Tostan is an international NGO focusing on human rights issues in Senegal, particularly women’s rights. The group also had the opportunity to spend some time in Dakar, the capital, and St. Louis, a city north of the country which was once the colonial capital of Senegal.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
by Danielle Fuller, Aditi Seshadri, and Anjana Seshadri
A total of 17 students from Allendale competed in the annual TEAM+S (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) competition on March 3rd. The 9/10 team and the senior 11/12 team both won first place at this regional competition. For the senior 11/12 team, this win was particularly significant because they toppled 3-year champion McQuaid. (more…)
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School
The festive opening reception for Allendale Columbia School’s Evening of the Arts Biennial will take place Friday, March 23rd, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The exhibition features hundreds of works of art from students in grades N – 12 displayed throughout the school. This year’s theme is “Art Around the World”.
Highlights of the event will include a group of 5th graders demonstrating their “crankie” from the LS musical, “I’m Not Sleepy…Yet!”, and the Honors and Portfolio Seminar Art students will be working in studio locations on campus as a preview for their upcoming spring thesis exhibition in April.
Refreshments will be served. Everyone from the AC community is invited! It is a great chance to socialize with other families and friends while taking in the talent and creativity of our AC students.
Parent volunteers are also needed for the Wolf Den, welcome table, and helping to direct people through the exhibits. Sign up here.
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Nursery, Pre-Primary School, PreKindergarten, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
At this week’s PACK (Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids) Coffee Connection, Amy Oliveri, Director of the new AC Center for Entrepreneurship, discussed her vision for the Center. Though she was only hired for the position at the beginning of this school year, she’s making good progress in helping students not only learn about entrepreneurism but actually become entrepreneurs.
The vision for the new Center is for it to be “a hub for entrepreneurship that will create opportunities for our students/participants to make an impact on the world at an unprecedented level by learning to adapt to a constantly evolving world, connecting globally, and carving their own path. This authentic way of thinking and working develops a universally applicable and transferable mindset and skill set.”
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School
by Tina Duver
Adolescence is a time where teenagers can struggle with the navigation through the rough waters of social interactions, academics, independence, and self-doubt. Here at Allendale Columbia, we are a responsive community who constantly engages our students in dialogue around topics of community and inclusivity. That dialogue in middle school has led to our participation in the KIND Schools Challenge.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Eighth Grade, Highlights, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, The Birches, US Birches
by Matt Duver ’20
The Upper School Robotics team’s season came to a very successful finish this past weekend with the Excelsior Region FIRST Tech Challenge Championships at SUNY Polytechnic in Utica. There were 24 teams from all over Western, Southwestern, and Central New York, and our team, the AC Aces, earned the right to compete by being the alliance winners from the Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Tech Challenge competition at St. John Fisher this past December.
In Utica, the AC Aces exceeded expectations and made it to the final match in an alliance with two other schools. Even though we did not win, we received two recognitions – the Finalist Team Alliance trophy, and a finalist for the Promote Video Award, where we made a 60-minute PSA to share with the world what we wanted people to know about FIRST Robotics Competitions. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”, and this is the second year that Allendale Columbia has had an FTC Team. After this past championship performance, the AC Aces ranked 368th out of 4,600 team performances on ftcstats.org. This is quite an accomplishment for a second year team, and we are all proud and grateful to our coaches (Dr. Jeff Lawlis, Mr. Andrew Perry, Mr. James Cotter, Ms. Maya Crosby, and Mr. Artie Cruz), sponsors (Sikorsky – A Lockheed Martin Company, Arconic, and ASP & Associates, Inc.), and Allendale Columbia School for helping us along the way. (more…)
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches