Citizens of the World Travel Grant Program

Pace Academy’s partnership with its parents has long been a distinguishing characteristic of the school. Through fundraising events like the Auction & Gala and the Fall Fair, the Parents Club supports students, faculty, staff and programs in many ways.

To ensure that the school continues to fulfill its mission to “create prepared, confident citizens of the world,” in 2014, the Parents Club funded the Citizens of the World Travel Grant Program. The program makes Isdell Center for Global Leadership (ICGL) study tours more affordable to all Pace students by providing airfare once during a student’s Middle School years, and once during his or her Upper School tenure.

Thanks to the Citizens of the World Travel Grant Program, student participation in 2016-2017 ICGL study tours remained high. Sixty-four percent of the 197 students traveling on the ICGL’s 15 study tours took advantage of the program.

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Recent Study Tours

germany

January 7-16, 2017

Following the winter break, Upper School History Chair Tim Hornor bundled up and returned to wintertime Germany with Pace Academy students for the fifth time. Faculty members Jason Smith and Liz Wiedemann accompanied Hornor and 15 Upper School students on their journey through history.

The group braved snow and frigid temperatures to understand the culture, economics, and politics of Germany’s past and present. In Munich, they took in a performance at the Bavarian State Opera, visited the Marienplatz and Hofbrauhaus, explored Baroque and Rococo architecture, and studied the rise of the Third Reich at Dachau concentration camp. Visits to Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Pergamon Museum, Hitler’s bunker and the Reichstag furthered their understanding of the country’s complex history.

“Being in a place that was integral to shaping world history filled in the gaps in my textbooks,” says senior Seth Swiecichowski. “I gained a new appreciation for another country’s way of life and saw in real life locations where history took place.”

Canada

March 2-10, 2017

Winter is more than a season for Canadians—as Middle School students learned over spring break, it’s a way of life. On this climate- and culture-themed study tour, led by faculty members Edna-May Hermosillo, Ty Richardson and Kate Eckhardt, 15 Middle School students learned what it’s like to live in a society shaped by snow, ice and cold.

The journey began in Montreal, where the group tried maple syrup, cheered on the Montreal Canadiens at a hockey game and navigated public transportation on an all-day, cell-phone-free scavenger hunt. Other stops included the Lachine Canal, Chinatown, the Notre-Dame Basilica, Jean-Talon Market, the Olympic Village Biodome, and the Montreal Insectarium and Botanical Garden.

Students also ziplined above the illuminated Place des Festivals and port of Montreal and discovered how Montrealers stay warm in the city’s 19 miles of underground tunnels. Curling lessons, ice fishing and dog sledding in Quebec followed, as did an overnight stay in an ice hotel.

“I chose the Canada trip because it looked very fun and interesting,” says eighth-grader Lizzy Kaye. “I ended up loving it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I learned so much.”

Chile

March 2-15, 2017

Each spring, Pace partners with Habitat for Humanity International to provide a service-focused immersion experience for Upper School students.

This year’s Habitat study tour, led by Rebecca Rhodes, Joe Sandoe and Caitlin Jones, took 19 students to Chile, where Habitat works with families of children with serious illnesses, renovating or constructing houses that allow these children to live at home while receiving medical treatment.

After two days in the capital city of Santiago, the group traveled west to the coastal town of Paredones, where students spent a week renovating a home for a family with an 18-month-old boy who had lived in the hospital since birth. Work included installing ceilings and insulation, hanging dry wall and siding, painting and varnishing.

During construction, the group came to know the family; they shared breakfast and lunch each day, assisted with household duties and conversed in Spanish. “I learned that I am better at Spanish than I thought I was,” reports junior Alex Tolliday. “It was so cool to be able to communicate with the family and the Habitat Chile team!”

“This trip changed my perspective,” says junior Ben Thompson. “It gave me a chance to see things through the eyes of a family on the other side of the world, exposing me to their everyday lives and struggles.”

Following the build, the group journeyed south to Chile’s Patagonia region, where they spent time with the indigenous Mapuche people, learning about their history, traditions and culture. Then, students hiked the region’s mountains, volcanoes and glaciers and observed climate change’s impact on the area’s biodiversity.

Ireland

March 3-13, 2017

“Travel. Soccer. Social change,” is the third half’s mantra. For more than 60 years, the organization has used the power of soccer for cultural and educational transformation, and this spring, Pace was proud to partner with the third half for a second ICGL study tour.

Over the break, 17 Upper School students and faculty advisers Troy Baker, Joanne Brown and Grady Stevens, traveled to Ireland, a country plagued by racism and the social exclusion of minority groups. In Dublin, students joined forces with SARI (Sport Against Racism Ireland) to explore how sport can be an agent of social change, particularly for refugee families.

“Initially, I thought that the [refugee children] we met were going to be a lot different than we were,” sophomore Adara Anthony-Jones wrote on the Student Travel Blog. “Little did I know, the kids were exactly like us, enjoying their lives and playing the sport they love.”

Through leadership workshops, cultural exchanges, study of Ireland’s history and culture, and lots of soccer, students built relationships and increased their understanding of complex global issues.

“Our group decided that being a global citizen is to go into every situation with an open mind, and we reflected on the advantages of a diverse community,” junior Joseph Mathias wrote. “Many may not realize that if everyone were the same, then none of us would be prepared to interact with people with different backgrounds and different values. To be global leaders… we need to be sensitive to and understanding of other people’s experiences.”

South Africa

March 2-14, 2017

Climate and adventure—specifically great whites and “The Big Five”—compelled 14 Upper School students to spend spring break in South Africa with faculty members Trish Anderson, Jonathan Ferrell and Nikki McCrary.

Their adventures began in Cape Town, where they explored Robben Island, Table Mountain, and the Alfred and Victoria Waterfront. Then it was on to Mossel Bay, a harbor town known for its diversity of nature and climates—as well as its abundance of predatory sharks. In partnership with Oceans Research, students engaged in real and current marine and terrestrial research projects.

“Our time at Oceans Research reawakened my passion for marine biology,” says sophomore Abby Ray. “I learned how climate directly impacts the ecosystems we studied and how drastic the effects of climate change can be on life in those environments. I also learned that sharks, especially great whites, are amazing and complex creatures. Humans should work to protect them—not kill them and make them villains.”

From Mossel Bay, the group traveled to the Schotia Game Reserve, a wildlife reserve in which more than 40 mammal species and approximately 2,000 animals make their home. Students’ research focused on “The Big Five”—rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lions and leopards.

“This trip was the best experience of my entire life,” Ray says. “Even though we were halfway across the world, it felt like I was finally home.”

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Being in a place that was integral to shaping world history filled in the gaps in my textbooks. I gained a new appreciation for another country’s way of life and saw in real life locations where history took place.
Seth Swiecichowski ’17