Global Scholars Academy Gives Back

In August the Global Scholars Academy had a field trip with select student to Chapel Hill to participate in the first UNC Orientation Team/Bike Building Workshop.

Grades three through seven were given the opportunity to write an essay titled “Exploring the World on My New Bike”, and 30 Students – 15 boys and 15 girls – were then selected. The workshop gave the students the opportunity to work with students at Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill to build their own bike.

Makaylah Parker, 3rd grader at GSA, tells of her bike building experience and shows her enthusiasm to pay it forward.

Makaylah Parker, 3rd grader at GSA, tells of her bike building experience and shows her enthusiasm to pay it forward.

Bikes kits were assembled as both UNC MBA and GSA students worked together, practicing communication and teamwork and, for some, being exposed to a whole new world. The Blue Zone, where the bikes were assembled, is Carolina’s premiere football viewing venue.

“The day was a huge success,” said Meghan Gosk, senior associate director of student development in the MBA program.

She explained how a group of graduate students even stayed behind afterward to make sure every bike was safely assembled, and how they were able deliver the bikes to the students’ home in Durham within an hour of completion.

Makaylah Parker, third-grader at GSA, was one of the students selected to take part in the workshop. She admitted to being nervous going into the event, but would let out a smile as she explained how the day was filled with friendly people and large amounts of cheering and other kinds of encouragements.

“I felt happy for myself,” Makaylah explained. “I was learning that celebrations will come to you when you do the right thing and work hard.”

Hassan Brown, a first-year in the MBA program at UNC, recounts interacting with some of the students and says the program has a great approach.

“My background is in education, so I understand the importance of recognizing them when they’ve done well,” he said. “They were a little nervous about it, but we brought them into the fold.”

“The hope is that these are the students who will one day be walking through our gates,” Brown said.

Co-head of school Leonard Mayo would agree.

“We were telling them ‘this could be you,'” he said.

Agatha Brown, co-head of school at GSA, says that since the workshop, the kids are really taking to their new wheels.

“They’re rushing home to their bicycles,” she said. “[It] is another strategy in getting them off the sofa, from watching TV and playing video games.”

What’s more, GSA now plans on taking their newly acquired skills and paying it forward. With the help of the MBA program, two more bike kits were provided to the school. GSA plans to rally to assemble these bikes and again put them into the hands of two more GSA students who wouldn’t otherwise have one.

Both Brown and Gosk affirm the partnership of the two schools and say the MBA students would jump at the opportunity to work with the students at GSA.

“A lot of people saw that activity as a cornerstone of orientation. With that kind of energy and enthusiasm behind it, I don’t think we’ll have a problem finding people to help give back,” Brown proudly explained.

Mayo explains the need for there to be better representation of minorities in these fields, and believes that can be accomplished by exposing young minds to the wide array of career opportunities that exist.

This event represents a continued relationship between the two schools, and serves as an extension of GSA’s STEAM program, which works to expose students to science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math in an engaging and interactive way, says Mayo.

In his eyes, this initiative and ones like it are also all a way of practicing what they preach. Every morning the school creed is recited aloud by the students, featuring the line: “I am on a mission to elevate myself, my community and all of humanity.”

“We have to model the behavior,” he said.