a high school student who gets it

Thursday 9 July, 2009

At the end of each school year, the Chicago Tribune doles out academic scholarships to Illinois’ best high school students.  This student impressed the heck out of me Tom Tasche: Elk Grove High School-Linguist squeezed every opportunity out of school ( a t2-a student after my own heart) who was written up by Megan Twohey in the newspaper that gave out the awards.  He learned Japanese, a very difficult language to learn, essentially on his own, an even more difficult way to learn.  He was motivated by 2 visits to Japan in which he was able to immerse himself in the language & culture, the best way to learn.

He’ll be attending Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, which says to me he aspires to be a diplomat rather than a linguist.  The language is simply the means to the end of communicating with people on their level as opposed to expecting them to work with you on yours.  He’s right when he says, “Being abroad gives you a new perspective on life.”  Not enough people I know take advantage of the opportunities to be abroad to get those new perspectives.

I recruit as an alumni student recruiter from my alma mater, the University of Michigan.  That consists mostly of answering questions at college fairs at a few local high schools each year.  What I’ve noticed in speaking with many high school students is they are much more worldly than when I was in high school.  They’re speaking more foreign languages, visiting different countries, communicating on a regular basis with fellow students all over the world, in our language & others.   I just hope that their global interests aren’t beaten down by small-minded managers when they get jobs after they graduate from college.  This generation is our future, & I hope they’re able to create more of a real global village than we have up to this point.  People like t2 can be hugely valuable assets, if only given the chance to prove their value.


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