“It is part of our philosophy to recognize different nationalities and races. We have always focused on providing quality education for a culturally diverse group of students.” Co-founder of Green Hedges, Frances Kilmer expressed this sentiment in 1971 as Green Hedges School(GHS) celebrated its first International Day. This week, 45 years later, as we celebrate International Week here at the School, we reflect on Mrs. Kilmer’s words and continue to hold them true for our current generation of students.
International Week celebrates our ethnic and cultural diversity, and as you saw at the Parade of Nations on Monday, students proudly represented a myriad of countries. Whether this was a country that their parents or grandparents immigrated from or simply a country they’ve only seen on a map, the Parade of Nations instills in our students the value of inclusion and being part of a larger global community.
It is not just International Week that celebrates our student body’s diversity. Students learn about holidays like Yom Kippur and Diwali during Openings and Closings and with faculty like Mrs. Chenulu, who visits our youngest students to read them a story about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. She also incorporates diversity into her teaching. “In the math classroom, we use examples, data, and information from various cultures – Western and non-Western – to illustrate key mathematical concepts and enrich the students’ knowledge base. Such a multicultural approach encourages students from all communities to make connections to their own lives,” she says.
With schools being more diverse than they’ve ever been, it is essential that we raise global citizens who learn at a young age to value the diversity around them. Diversity brings richness to our communities—in the classroom, in the community and in the world — and fosters mutual respect, knowledge and awareness. At GHS, this is part of our DNA, part of the reason we were founded, and all students are taught from the beginning “the intrinsic worth of each individual and the value of the varied cultural heritages that make up America.”(Frances Kilmer)