NASHUA — High school students took time from their usual school schedules jammed with essays and tests Monday night and presented some of the work they’ve done over the past several months battling global malnutrition, protecting coastal communities from climate change, redesigning economic formulas and solving conflicts through art.
Students from the city’s two high schools took part in the College Board’s Advanced Placement Global Challenge pilot program, a new scholarship competition that invites teams of students to confront global problems with research, innovation, collaboration and creative problem solving.
“Only 17 schools around the world participated, and Nashua had two of them,” Assistant Superintendent Karen Crebase told a large group of family and friends than were at Nashua High North to see students present their projects during a Board of Education meeting.
The teams had a choice of four multi-disciplinary topics and were required to develop a multimedia presentation on the issues and research-based proposal to mitigate or solve problems. The program was open to juniors and seniors who were either enrolled in, or have completed, at least one AP course.
“The program challenges kids to think differently about the world around them and their place in it,” said Margaret Reynolds, grants administrator for the district.
Although the teams took different approaches, they all dug into their topics backing up their proposals with numerous facts and extensive bibliographies.
One team that tackled the problem of global malnutrition proposed bolstering roads and infrastructure to get more fresh produce to markets, while a second team made the case for more locally produced and genetically-modified foods.
A team from Nashua High South used large photos of students exhibited in the corridors to spark conversation and demonstrate that the first step in solving conflicts is paying attention.
BOE member Robert Hallowell congratulated students and said seeing their work was one of the big benefits of being on the board.
Students involved in the top three projects in the Global Challenge pilot program, which will be scored by a panel of judges, will win scholarships of up to $5,000 per student. The news of who will be awarded should be learned in Nashua by June 15.
Nobody was waiting to celebrate, though, and Monday night was a chance for everyone to congratulate the teams for their ideas and work.
College Board representative Sarah Balestreri, who attended Monday night’s presentation, added her compliments to those of the local fans.
“This (program) was an experiment and it was thrilling to see the excellent work you produced,” she said.