Parents choose Academy for their children because they seek an education that will challenge their developing intellects, protect their essential humanity and prepare them for a multicultural world in the broadest sense possible.
It is important to us that our children be aware of different cultures, races and religions and be able to view individuals as a fellow humans, friends. We all teach each other.”
–Jessica Nimjee, parent
Here, Lower School students learn what their personal role is in strengthening community and gain an understanding that every voice, every story, every experience counts. In fifth grade, students are tasked with solving social, environmental and economic crises in The World Peace Games. The experience brings them together, strengthens their creative thinking and communication skills and prepares them for new challenges they will face as they progress through school.
Middle School students publish a newspaper that covers complex issues such as black history, activism and U.S. immigration policy and gives voice to those of all backgrounds and ideologies. Upper School students explore racial identity among ethnic groups to better understand how to improve academic performance.
We want our students, teachers and families to feel welcome and valued and to welcome and value others.”
– Beckett Broh, Director of Diversity and Community Life
It’s second nature for students at Columbus Academy to ask what it’s like to be another person, to walk in their shoes. Every day, students of all grade levels, together with our community of teachers, parents, coaches and alumni, engage in open dialogue and discussion enriched by differing perspectives and points of view.
We welcome you to read their stories here.
Celebrating differences, honing strengths
Carolyn Vaziri loves reading and writing. When the eighth grade Project Discover came around, she was also beginning to embrace politics. Many of her fellow middle schoolers were feeling the same way, so she decided to create a publication that would expand and extend the voices of her classmates while adhering to the highest standards of truth in journalism. Working with Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Seymore, Mrs. Zive and a team of talented writers, she launched Norse Code, the middle school newspaper.
We want this newspaper to serve two goals. First, we would like to develop the highest standards for truthfulness in journalism. Second, we would like to expand opportunities for youth to have a voice, especially if they have an interest in politics.”
Carolyn is proud that through Norse Code, she and her team are able to explore topics as large and complex as black history, activism and U.S. immigration policy and give voice to those of all races, cultures and ideologies to help bring together divergent points of view and create positive change.
Building a student’s sense of connection with others
We gained real-world, professional skills like teamwork and collaboration, knowing when to follow and when to lead. We grew so much as people.”
– Olivia Ryan, ’18, YPAR team member
Our students take on pluralistic points of view so that they’re able to comprehend different ideas and express them. We expect that of them. To that end, we provide our Upper School students the opportunity to engage with graduate students and faculty in Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), a form of social research conducted through the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives (CSBGL), a consortium of independent schools based at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. The students spend the school year examining issues they care about within their own communities.
It gets students looking at problems and thinking about solutions. They might not solve the problem they set out to address, but it’s an important part of the process that transforms curious students into informed, active citizens.”
– Tim Leet, Ethics and Character Coordinator
The 2018 team chose to research academic competition and its effect on students’ sense of connectivity and the identity and experience of racial and ethnic groups at Academy.
The team designed the projects from start to finish, learning to use quantitative and qualitative methods and analyze data. At the end, they wrote a final report and plan of action and presented their results at the end-of-year Roundtable Conference at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as to students and the Academy Board of Trustees.
Open borders, open hearts
In our community, students learn by seeing and by doing. This is played out in ways big and small every day. One such way is taking part in initiatives like the Columbus Crossing Borders Project. Students aged 12 to 18 recently had the opportunity to work with newly arrived refugee teens to create a mural for Communities Joining for Art and Murals (C-JAM). As stated in the Columbus Dispatch, the murals are “bright and fun, reflecting themes of unity and humanity. … It’s a gracious way of bringing cultures together and welcoming new Ohio residents. We wanted to help these teens meet people and feel as welcome in our community as we do." The mural features colorful depictions of flowers, plants and animals from different countries.