by George J Elbaum
Snowden International School is a unique, open-enrollment public high school in Boston’s historic Copley Square. With slightly under 500 students, it is a multicultural, multilingual college preparatory high school with a rigorous academic curriculum plus an international studies and world language focus. As a part of the international-themed curriculum, students are required to take 4 years of a foreign language, and the school has the goal of having 25% of each student class participate in exchange-immersion programs to foreign countries, which in past years have included China, Japan, Spain, France, Canada, Jamaica, Ireland, England and Rwanda. For the 2018-2019 school year students will be travelling to France, Germany, Poland and Cuba. Snowden International thus offers its students an accelerated college preparatory curriculum, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma and Certificate program which is quite unique for an urban public high school.
On the local level, Snowden International conducts special projects such as visits to many of world class museums that Boston offers, collaboration with the Boston Public Library, an “I Dream” theater project with Emerson College, the August Wilson Monologue Competition in New York, and community service hours required of its students.
On a personal level, I was very impressed with the open friendliness of the many students who approached me and introduced themselves when I first entered the room, and the feeling remained throughout my visit. The event was organized by Paula Bowles, Snowden’s History and Social Studies teacher, and Laurie DeMarco, Visual Arts & Theater teacher. My talk was also attended by teachers Kiki McCarthy, Heidi Noce, Seth Peterson and Nancy Allen. Snowden’s Headmaster, Eugene Roundtree (who presented me with a Snowden 2022 t-shirt) also attended. The visit was arranged by Judi Bohn of Facing History and Ourselves.
Letters from Students
Several weeks after my talk at Snowden International School I received a large envelope with Thank You notes from the students attending my talk. As has been our custom for some years, my wife Mimi and I read each of the notes, with Mimi reading aloud while I listened and absorbed it mentally and emotionally. We jointly chose statements from the notes that particularly resonated with us, and we excerpted these statements and added them to this web post. Also included was a hand-made “THANK You” note with very cute “Sending hug loading…” drawing on the reverse side. It gave both Mimi and me a great big 🙂 and I’ve added it to the photos below.
- The memories you could recall from your childhood are marked by innocence but still charged with meaning.
- Thank you for sharing with us that each of the six million lives brutally ended in the Holocaust was also filled with stories.
- After listening to your words, I decided to become a person like you. Even if I have past memories that I don’t want to share out, I’m going to boldly share them to make it never happen again.
- I know that the world changes because of a person like you.
- Every time you shared your words, there was a deep impression inside my heart. Thank you.
- Keep speaking & sharing your experience with the world.
- I enjoyed hearing about your experience & getting to hug/see you. Thank you.
- After your speech I will always remember to speak up about things when something is going on and to not be afraid to say something.
- You’ve taught me a lot, to be strong and reach as far as I can to my dream goal.
- Thank you for being so brave, sharing your past, and for being an amazing and optimistic person. Considering what you went through, you’ve really inspired me.
- I really appreciated your wise words the other day. This experience will forever stick with me.
- I, too, am a story teller, and your dedication to sharing your message with others is really important to me. I’ve often wanted to share my own ideas and experiences with others, and your talk reminded me of how important that is.
- Please don’t stop giving these talks.