November 3, 2010 / By Administrator

Sharing the Global Explorers Experience

As a Global Explorers board member I recently had the opportunity over two days to work with Jordan Robbins, GEx director of scholarship programs.  We interviewed four finalist Chicago area schools for next year’s Costa Rica trip, a school travel program sponsored by the Crystal Fund of the Oak Park and River Forest Community Foundation.  It was a great privilege to meet with wonderfully talented and dedicated educators and students in some of the city’s economically poorest neighborhoods.

Jordan and I met with teachers and administrators at three charter schools and one Chicago public school.  We toured the schools and met some of the students.  I’ve spent a lot of professional time in schools over many years, and I think I’ve developed a good ability to sense a school’s atmosphere and values.  These schools exuded a seriousness about learning in and beyond the classroom and an immense personal regard for their students.

As a retired school principal I know how difficult it is to balance the many competing demands for instructional time.  But it was clear to me that these innovative schools place great value on opportunities for student travel, cultural immersion, leadership, and service.  Although it was difficult to choose a single school for this educational travel scholarship, it was reassuring to hear that runners-up also felt good about our final selection.

Visiting these schools and meeting their staff and students left me with an overwhelming sense of both humility and pride: humility in the presence of such great talent and dedication; and pride in being part of an organization that brings wonderful life-changing experiences to students.

By: Lou LaRocco, Global Explorers Board Member and Retired School Principal