In a world that grows more connected every day, resourcefulness, adaptability and an understanding of international affairs have become essential skills for future success. During the past summer, two students from Wells International School flew the United States for separate programs that offer youth an opportunity to interact with their peers from around the world. While Chalisa (Lisa) Wynne Brothers (Class of 2017) arrived in sunny California to take part in the prestigious John Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth program, Gautham Naganathan Giri (Class of 2013) explored the eastern coast of the U.S. while touring Washington D.C. and New York City in the Global Young Leaders Conference.
Lisa, a Wells student for over five years, has long been recognized as one of the brightest students in the school, a belief that was confirmed upon her receipt of an invitation to the John Hopkins CTY. A highly selective program that identifies highly gifted students worldwide and provides learning opportunities for them, the CTY invites only a handful of youth to participate in its summer program. To qualify, students at the grade 7 level must achieve standardized test scores on par with those of high school seniors; Lisa’s scores identify her as being at the university level. With the CTY directors more than willing to accept her into the summer program, Lisa elected to join the Introduction to Robotics course in Thousand Oaks, California.
For students as gifted as Lisa, the chance to delve into challenging tasks with others who share their same gifts is a rare opportunity, and one that Lisa herself embraced with enthusiasm. She now reflects fondly on the experience and hopes to go back again, not only for the intellectual challenge, but also the other knowledge she gained: “I loved meeting all the other people in the program, because everyone was nice, and they were amazing individuals…it was a great experience, and it made me more outgoing and able to approach people.”
Even more impressive was the glowing review from her course instructors: “Your designs were innovative and followed the engineering design process…As a rule, your robots were very well thought out…Your understanding of structural engineering and your programming skills were also outstanding…it was a true pleasure having you in the class and John and I feel privileged to have met you.” Congratulations on your success in the CTY program, Lisa, and we hope that you continue to receive such opportunities in the future.
As Lisa probed the intricacies of robotics in California, Gautham—another Wells student known for his keen intellect—boarded a plane bound for Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport to take part in the GYLC. The only student to represent Thailand from over 200 participants, he met peers from over 100 countries around the world, all of whom were eager to engage in the study of diplomacy and leadership at the international level. From an exploration of the monuments in D.C.—including the White House—to the streets of New York, Gautham experienced a whirlwind tour of the world of international affairs.
As one of its primary goals, the GYLC seeks to educate the leaders of the future and provide them with the skills necessary to face the many challenges of the 21st century. Gautham and his peers thus received the rare chance to meet and interact with CEOs from multiple industries, and to engage in workshops to develop their communication and management skills: “We had three main leadership group activities: the Politics of Trade activity, the Peace and Security simulation, and the Global Summit. We did the Global Summit at one of the rooms they actually use at the U.N. headquarters in NYC…We learned negotiation skills (so that we could negotiate and discuss with the other country groups), and it was also a great opportunity for public speaking.”
While Gautham certainly benefited from the events organized by the program, it was the connections with his fellow participants and the visits to world-famous sites that he reflects fondly upon. A tour of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Rockefeller Center and the Smithsonian Institution all highlighted a once-in-a-lifetime chance: “It was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience, and I’m glad I was given the opportunity to take part in it. Special thanks to the Wells for help with funding. I’m not sad it’s over, but rather glad that it happened. It was awesome.” Congratulations on your positive experiences in the program, Gautham, and don’t forget to put what you’ve learned into action.
If you are interested in applying to Wells International School or if you are a current Wells parent who would like your child to participate in international events and competitions, please contact us for details about such opportunities.