February 17, 2019
Granville is often described by its student citizens as a kind of “bubble.”
Students in Granville High School instructor Jeremy Hopping’s Global Issues class had the recent opportunity to try and push through that bubble by simulating a refugee experience fashioned by the Columbus Council of World Affairs.
Granville students gathered with students from Reynoldsburg and Big Walnut at Franklin University in downtown Columbus Feb. 12 for a Global Issues experience including the refugee simulation, as well as speakers on topics ranging from social media issues, to human trafficking.
According to Hannah Meyer, director of student and community engagement, 21 districts in total participate in the CCWA Global Issues campaign, including Licking Heights Local Schools.
GHS freshman Julian Rodgers observed between events, “Granville really isn’t that diverse.” He said participation in the Global Issues program “sort of opened my eyes. It allows us to interact with people from around the world and to see how different things can be.”
Fellow GHS freshman Lily Brown said that learning about what people from other countries and cultures must cope with has given her a better sense about how she might apply those lessons and realities to her anticipated future endeavors in the world of dance, conservation and environmental issues.
According to a CCWA news release, it was in fact the Granville School District and its leadership’s concern that Granville’s homogeneity posed challenges to its international studies efforts that inspired the current CCWA program.
Granville united with Columbus North International School to approach the Council of World Affairs about forging the curriculum which has since grown to encompass 21 districts from around Central Ohio.
During last Tuesday’s exercises, students were teamed into families with those from other districts. Each “family” was asked to come up with a list of potential global issues.
After, each family was challenged to create a list of items or belongings they would take with them as they attempted to move from one country to another as refugees.
As part of their simulated refugee experience, further challenges including vehicle failures, injured or ailing family members and water shortages prompted further decisions regarding what more would have to be left behind or abandoned.
Hopping said GHS students are required to go through the Global Issues program twice during their high school career.
Each unit consists of four CCWA events (the Feb. 12 event was this group’s third, Hopping said), before then shaping a potential action project, some of which students then go on to actually implement.
“As an example, this year, kids are working on creating kits to help new teachers in Somalia,” Hopping said. “Another student is working with the Granville Rotary on their polio (eradication) project.”