Observed on the 21st of September, the annual International Day of Peace celebrates global ideals of peace as the name suggests. A day sanctioned by the United Nations to recognize the efforts of those committed to causes related to developing a more peaceful world, the day serves as an important reminder to all of the value of global unity and cooperation. Thanks to the actions of Greta Thunberg, Secretary-General António Guterres’s newfound focus on climate issues influenced this year’s theme of “Climate Action.” Coined a theme by the United Nations every year, 2019’s International Day of Peace is meant to raise awareness of the relationship between climate change and a peaceful world.
The U.S. Institute of Peace plays a major role in celebrating the day as well. Created by Congress in 1984 as “an independent institution devoted to the prevention and mitigation conflict” abroad, the USIP has served as an important mechanism in the United States’ peacekeeping policy. (USIP.org).
Every International Peace Day since 2015, the USIP has challenged people all around the world to participate in the #PeaceDayChallenge -- sharing photos of their commitment to a more peaceful world. Led by AIS Director Mr. Fernandez-Schendt, Carrboro High School students annually participate in this day.
If you want to learn more about International Peace Day, check out #PeaceDayChallenge or #peaceday on social media.
Pictured: Members of the CHS class of 2022 making a peace sign to celebrate International Peace Day.
CultureFest 2018 was a success! The event started, as always, with a potluck, filled with delicious food. Our favorite foods were some fried noodles made by Max Luce, and Ms. Kendra’s lo mein chicken, and the great Brazilian sweet called brigadeiros! During the potluck, people at CultureFest filled out bingo cards, they were asked to find people wearing cultural dress and speaking other languages.
After the potluck, we went to the auditorium for the inaugural CultureFest Film Showcase. Students submitted original films about an international issue or a current event that was significant to them. Afterwards, we all voted on our favorite video. Congratulations to all the people who submitted films! Extra congratulations to the winners of the competition, the CHS Film Club!
We are looking forward to next year’s CultureFest and hope to see all of you there! For links to all of the videos shown at our inaugural Film Showcase, see below:
The senior members of AIS experienced the first element of their Senior Capstone this past November. All AIS seniors rode a bus to the Triangle Training Center in Pittsboro for the 2nd annual AIS day of leadership. The day was started with leadership games and getting to know the “team”, or group of seniors, in attendance. Then came “the scary stuff” according to senior Kelley Gosk. Students began to climb a “very scary, very high up” wall. All other team members either belayed or cheered the climber on, creating a sense of camaraderie. Every student “faced their fears and conquered the wall”, though people toppled that feat in various fashions.
After the capstone team had completed the wall, they moved on to a crate stacking activity in which students stacked the tallest crate towers possible while still standing on the tower and being delayed. The activity was “all about strategy”, and everyone on the team had to be on board with the specific strategy in order to be successful. Each round the teams would gather and “talk about successes and setbacks to plan how to better succeed the following round.”
To culminate the activities, AIS Director Mr. Schendt led a conversation about how leadership is defined. Specific topics included where leadership can be found in Carrboro High School, and how that could be emulated going forward. During the discussion, Gosk realized that “everyone has different ideas of what leadership is”. Further, she now better understands that leaders fulfill a “wide variety of roles” in this community, and so there is room for everyone to partake in their own style of leadership.
Gosk expressed that while at first she was reluctant to give up her day off from school, she ended up “having a lot of fun”, and encourages rising AIS students to look forward to their time at the Training Center.
Julia Conner is a current 11th grade students in the Academy of International Studies.
How long does a book stay on the New York Times Bestseller List? Ask Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, whose debut has ruled the top of the list for more than one hundred weeks.
The Hate U Give is a contemporary novel aimed at young adults and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Protagonist Starr Carter lives in gentrified neighborhood Garden Heights, but attends a private school where she is only one of the two Black students. Constantly code switching, Starr learns to deal with the prejudices of her White classmates and her Black neighbors. Then, a police officer tragically shoots one of her childhood friends, Khalil, and she is the sole witness.
The Hate U Give has won the 2017 National Book Award, the Goodreads Choice Award for Debut Authors, and the 2018 Coretta Scott King Award. Its impact, however, cannot be summed up only through a list of accolades.
The work by Angie Thomas aims to connect young people to literature they can relate to and fearlessly delves into the intricacies surrounding race and police violence. Her book has been been banned across several school districts, some for profanity, but also because of the scrutiny of law enforcement.
The hashtag #OwnVoices denotes the idea that a character shares an aspect of identity with the author, whether that encompasses race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or gender, disability, or neurodivergence. The Hate U Give derives much of its power from its OwnVoices characteristics; that a Black Mississippian woman wrote about a girl sharing her experiences stemming from race and socio-economic background lends all the more authenticity to the story. But what if representative books aren’t accessible to a community?
Carrboro High School’s READ club, standing for Raising Equal Access to Diversity through Reading, aims to increase the accessibility of books with a specific focus on OwnVoices. Even in a community with ready access to more books than I could ever read, I, an adopted Chinese girl, have rarely seen positive representation of that facet of my identity in young adult literature. I didn’t know that a mirror was missing until I found it in Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro, which addresses aspects of privilege in transnational adoptions, but also portrays adoption as a valid part of personhood. Such positive representation is even harder to find for people of more marginalized identities; even Anger is a Gift is not OwnVoices to adoptees.
This November, READ is gathering funds to help John F Kennedy High School in Winston Salem purchase their own classroom copies of The Hate U Give. JFK High School is a growing Title 1 school whose needs are rapidly outgrowing their funds. The school’s librarian fostering the project says that the students, all of whom receive free lunch and breakfast, will be able to relate to experiences in The Hate U Give when they see a community in the book reflective of their own.
How can you help? Through December 19, READ is hosting a raffle with the possibility of winning a Collector’s Edition and Movie Tie-In Edition of The Hate U Give, and also a THUG themed sticker pack. Each ticket costs $1, and every five people you refer to the raffle is equivalent to an extra entry. All funds collected from the raffle help purchase copies of The Hate U Give for students at John F Kennedy High School.
You have the ability to speak up about how access to representative books matter. In the words of Angie Thomas: “What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?”
Learn more about John F Kennedy High School’s project here.
READ CHS meets every other Monday at lunch in D217. Email Julia Conner (email@example.com) or Omia Haroon (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
This series of posts that asks current AIS students "What do you want to get out of AIS?" or "What do you get out of AIS?" Below you will the response of Will Brady, a current 11th grade student in the AIS program.
Opinion is a crucial part of life. Opinion is one of the few things a person has to call their own. However, people often become compelled to toss aside individual reasoning and make decisions based on whatever group they choose to affiliate themselves with or whatever the majority thinks. This kind of groupthink is in opposition to the goal of AIS. AIS aims to encourage individuality and aspires to incubate a group of well rounded independent thinkers. Open mindedness is a substantial part of being an internationally focused citizen. Conflicting views are welcomed in AIS as they should be everywhere.
In my years as a student in the public school system I have experienced varying degrees of isolation due to a unique or under represented perspective that I have held. In class I found it common to believe there was a correct way to think or a single correct opinion. I often found myself writing based on what I thought was the right way to think or what my instructor expected me to think. I now understand that the “correct” opinion will always merely be the opinion of the majority. I have often found myself mirroring what I perceive to be “correct” rather than upholding my own opinion. I have figured that if I didn’t play to the majority I might be sacrificing my grades or social status. Looking back I wonder how many other students found themselves stuck in similar situations. I imagine I am not the only student who had to mask their opinion. In the AIS program I have felt more comfortable hanging up the mask and writing my truth as I am now.
A school should be an impartial place in which only the facts are presented. Interpretation can’t be taught. AIS seeks to foster individuality and diversity of opinion so its students can engage with an equally diverse world. We must engage with diverse opinions in order to achieve the goal of forming international citizens.
This is a student-led, student-written, and student-edited blog about happenings in the AIS program at CHS, features about our students, as well as other topics of global concern. Check back frequently for more great content!
Have an comments or ideas for blog posts?
Contact: Mr. Schendt (AIS Director), Isabel Simmons (Student Editor) or Kai Nilsen (Student Editor).