The Global Scholars Program equips students with leadership skills


Ms. Rachel Zurheide

A committee of Upper School teachers and faculty launched the Global Scholars Program to equip students with global leadership skills.

Eight Sacred Heart Greenwich seniors presented reflections on their experiences as candidates for Sacred Heart’s signature Global Scholars Program February 26.  A committee of language teachers and Upper School faculty members worked in collaboration to launch the program at the end of the 2018-19 academic year.  The program provides seniors with the opportunity to develop and expand their world language skills while participating in global educational experiences.

A student may apply to the Global Scholars program as a junior.  While fulfilling the requirements throughout senior year, Sacred Heart designates the student as a Global Scholar Candidate.  At Prize Day, Sacred Heart officially names her a Global Scholar.

Ms. Judith Scinto, Upper School Spanish teacher and Global Scholars Coordinator, speaking to the Upper School about the benefits of joining the Global Scholars program.  Sydney Kim ’20

The 12 Global Scholars Candidates for 2020 are seniors Rachael Ali, Salome Alfaro, Olivia Andrews, Sally Carter, Bridget Cobb, Cameron Calcano, Gabby DiBiase, Giselle Grey, Gerty Hisler, Katie Keller, Kate Murray, and Julia Welsh.  At the presentation, Rachael, Salome, Olivia, Bridget, Cameron, Gerty, Katie, and Julia spoke to Upper School students and faculty about their individual projects and portfolios.

In order for a student to earn her position as a Global Scholars Candidate, she must fulfill the requirements outlined in the program’s three pillars.

The first pillar relates to world language proficiency.  Sacred Heart offers language courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish.  The program requires students to study a language for four consecutive years in the Upper School, as well as participate in immersion experiences in their chosen language, according to

Ms. Judith Scinto, Upper School Spanish Teacher and Global Scholars Coordinator, believes that world language proficiency is an integral part of the program.

“Being a Sacred Heart Global Scholar is rooted in language and communication skills because language, at its core, is an expression of cultural identity and a bridge toward interconnectedness and understanding,” Ms. Scinto said.  “As a language teacher, I want all of my students to be immersed in the target language as fully and as often as possible — as it challenges us to think critically and is the path toward proficiency and internalizing speech patterns.”

Sacred Heart offers various immersion opportunities that can fulfill this pillar.  Sophomores have the opportunity to participate in the Network Exchange program and surround themselves in a foreign language and culture. 

Rachael Ali ’20 shares a poem that she wrote about her experience visiting Perú.  Sydney Kim ’20

The second pillar is the Global Scholarship component.  It encourages students to develop a deeper interest in global studies and international affairs.  All candidates must design a topic in their Senior Seminar class and apply it to a broader global issue.  This pillar combines global studies with Sacred Heart’s commitment to community service and social justice, as outlined in Goal Three of Sacred Heart’s Goals and Criteria, a social awareness that impels to action.

The third and final pillar of the program requires the candidates to reflect on their overall experiences and what it means to be a global citizen. 

This pillar encourages students to participate in cultural immersion experiences that surpass traditional borders.  Sacred Heart offers various opportunities for Upper School students to take part in global education, including service trips.  For her presentation, Rachael shared a poem she wrote in Spanish.  The Sacred Heart immersion and service trip in Perú during spring break of 2019 inspired her piece.

Other candidates chose to visit museums, read novels in their target language, or run club meetings regarding their topics.  Gerty decided to visit the El Museo del Barrio‘s fiftieth-anniversary exhibition in New York City and compiled a photography collage with her favorite pieces.  She shared her personal definition of global citizenship and explained how her participation in the Global Scholars Program shapes her world view.

“In my mind, a global citizen is someone who seeks to educate themselves, gets involved in their community, visits other places, and has an open mindset,” Gerty said.  “Ultimately, being a global citizen is a choice that involves a series of actions and attitudes that inspire others to engage in meaningful dialogue and embrace all people regardless of differences.  The Global Scholars Program has reinforced the idea that equality and equity for all are essential, and if I have the resources to educate myself and others, I must do so.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Ms. Rachel Zurheide