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Apr 27, 201211:38 AMEducation Matters

MCPS Student Learns Real-World Lessons Outside Classroom

Apr 27, 2012 - 11:38 AM
MCPS Student Learns Real-World Lessons Outside Classroom

Winston Churchill High School senior Samara Green can’t even imagine what it would have been like to have been trapped in classrooms all day this school year.

Instead of succumbing to senioritis, Green spent her year exploring her passions for women’s and global health issues while working as an intern at Global Classrooms Washington, D.C.

And she soon discovered that the working world provides lessons that just can’t be learned in school.

“I learned about responsibility, work ethic, things you don’t necessarily learn in a classroom,” the 17-year-old Potomac resident said. “Compared to the standardized tests that I’m used to, this is just real-life stuff.”

Two afternoons each week, Green traveled into Washington to help prepare curriculum materials for the international program run under the auspices of the United Nations Association of the National Capital.

Global Classrooms Washington, D.C., the local affiliate, works with teachers and students at 31 public schools in the Washington metropolitan area to “help them understand the global system, increase their knowledge of other cultures and traditions, improve their ability to think analytically and creatively, and tackle global problems and issues collectively,” according to the group’s website.

Green spent her days researching curriculum topics for middle and high school students, writing articles for the program’s newsletter, even blogging about global issues and gender stereotypes for The Huffington Post.

Next week, she’ll finish her internship by helping out May 1 at the Global Classrooms Model UN Conference, where students will demonstrate their Model UN skills and debate topics on the United Nations’ agenda.

Gena Magill, Green’s supervisor and the communications and youth team coordinator for Global Classrooms, said that Green experienced a “huge growth” in personal confidence during the internship, taking on a leadership role with the program’s other high school interns and speaking to board members at a fundraising event.

Green secured her internship through her participation in the Superintendent’s Leadership Program, a highly competitive honors leadership and career development program offered by Montgomery County Public Schools. Students selected for the year-long program demonstrate “outstanding leadership, academic excellence, and uncommon maturity within their schools and communities,” according to MCPS.

The internship has dovetailed nicely with Green’s academic program at Churchill, where she’s taken courses through the International Studies Signature Program. For a class on global issues, she has been focusing on the role of women in developing countries and the health issues that they face. And Green has participated in the Model UN program throughout high school.

“I have a big passion for women empowerment,” said Green, who developed her interest after reading several books about the issue. “I couldn’t believe so many women and girls around the world were treated badly.”

The internship has been a life-changing experience for Green, who was ready to leave high school behind as senior year rolled around. Students in the leadership program take classes in the morning and then head to internships or interactive seminars in the afternoon.

“I can’t imagine having a full schedule this year, and not leaving and seeing something different,” Green said. “The school system now is just so competitive, by the time we get to our senior year, everyone is just burned out.”

Green is excited about heading to Barnard College next fall, where she’s thinking about focusing on public health, anthropology and women’s studies. But she won’t soon forget the lessons learned during her internship and her exposure to global issues.

 “I have a whole new appreciation for education now,” she said.

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