India Project welcomes inaugural ambassador for Atherton residency About five years ago, SHS initiated an effort to build bridges with the Sacred Heart educational institutions in India, raising awareness, funding, and other means of support for the extraordinary education and empowerment work being done by the RSCJ and Sacred Heart educators in Mumbai and rural India. As part of this “ India Project,” a total of seven faculty from the Atherton school have been awarded scholarships to visit the schools in India, learn from faculty and students there, and explore the work of the RSCJ in the community. Selected at the conclusion of the last academic year, two more faculty are returning over the 2015-2016 year. In addition, three SHP students have also spent time at the Indian schools as part of the initiative—two in a reciprocal exchange program, and one engaged in service learning. For the first time since the project’s inception however, a teacher from Sophia College—a Sacred Heart school in Mumbai— traveled to the Atherton campus for a two-week U.S. residency in November, teaching courses and engaging with the greater community. A biology scholar, Latika Sethi brought global perspective to SHP science courses, taught about Hinduism, meditation, and biodiversity, and also shepherded the high school community through her native cultural festival of Diwali. Interviewed about her experiences for a local news organization, Sethi commented on the differences she found between her Sophia
Biology teacher Latika Sethi, SHS’ first “Project India” ambassador from Mumbai, spent two weeks on the Atherton campus.
students and those at SHS, and how she feels the experience might modify her approach to teaching. “The students here are much more independent and more experienced in general,” she said. “Our students in India tend to be a little more sheltered and protected... [What I’ve learned here is that] I need to work on the students’ personality, to follow how their minds are working...[not deviating] from the syllabus, but building on their perceptions.”
Sampling the Continents
Middle School students trade California for adventures abroad Primed for adventure and ready to take their Sacred Heart lessons on the road, last summer 32 Middle School students exchanged their familiar surroundings in Atherton for trips through Japan and the wilds of Costa Rica to explore, learn, and serve abroad. An Untraditional Field Trip Behind many months of preparation, 14 seventh graders embarked on a seven-day trip to Japan to immerse themselves in the culture, and present their research and suggestions at the United Nations (UN) library in Tokyo. Unlike a traditional school trip, students were expected to work independently and manage their own immigration process, currency exchanges, budgets, and dining, similar to what would be expected on an internship. The students enjoyed visiting historic sites, and experiencing customary dining experiences while in Japan.