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North Shore Students Attend Leadership Institute in Costa Rica

The students studied abroad and learned about new environmental practices they plan to implement in the north shore.

 students Audrey and Nina Schield ’13 (Wilmette), Elias Butler '13 (Chicago), Sam Tullman ’13 (Wilmette), and Gagan Bhambra ’13 (Northbrook) spent one week this summer at a Global Youth Leadership Institute session in Costa Rica.

The seniors studied environmental sustainability at Earth University and further examined the “5 C’s of Cultural Awareness," culture, color, character, class and context. The students returned excited to incorporate what they learned at Earth into programs at North Shore.

“It was cool to learn about how different it is there, but also how much we’re able to do here," said Nina Schield. "We’re planning on pretty much revamping the greenhouse [at North Shore]. We plan on putting a lot of the urban agriculture — hanging planters and hydroponics [in the School]. It would be really interesting to implement it here and then we could bring the outside community, even the North Shore community, into it and really make it a center for activity and growth."

Students participate in GYLI for three years in a row, beginning as rising 10th graders with a sailing trip that introduces them to the concepts of global leadership. As rising 11th graders, North Shore students participating in GYLI camp out in the desert of New Mexico and focus on the intersections of sustainability and leadership.

“I was really impressed with how genuinely thoughtful our students were about issues of equity and justice. They were moved to action.”

The senior trip to Costa Rica is the culmination of the three-year experience, in which students focus on how sustainability relates to diversity. They participate in intensive workshops and eat only organic locally grown food. According to the trip’s advisor, Dean of Students Pam Boehm, the primary question is, “How do we live in a multicultural and equitable world while at the same time promoting sustainability?”

GYLI aims to build relationships between students in different communities throughout the three-year program. While in Costa Rica, North Shore Country Day students connected with students from John Hope College Preparatory High School in Chicago and formed friendships that they hope will continue now that they’re home.

“I was really impressed with how genuinely thoughtful our students were about issues of equity and justice. They were moved to action,” says Boehm. “They’ve been thinking, ‘How do we create a community here at North Shore, and beyond, that is one that truly embraces diversity and tries to live with our environment in a way that sustains it and doesn’t abuse it?’ It’s powerful to see.”

Editor's note: This article was submitted by North Shore Country Day School. 

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