For the second time in three years, the Grand Prize winner of the Follett Challenge is from the state of Alaska. Tudor Elementary School, part of the Anchorage School District, learned in a video announcement it had won the seventh annual contest, which is sponsored by Follett. Created by Chuck Follett, retired president and CEO of Follett Corporation, the contest seeks and rewards innovative K-12 programs teaching 21st-century skills in today’s schools.
For its winning entry—“Young Global Citizens”—Tudor Elementary, with an enrollment of 346 students, earns a $60,000 prize in Follett products and services plus a celebration at their school. Ben Eielson Junior/Senior High School, located on Alaska’s Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, was the Grand Prize winner of the 2016 Follett Challenge.
Tudor Elementary’s entry showcases what it means for their students to be global citizens, how it impacts their learning, their perspectives on the world and the impacts they can have on it.
“Not only are students exploring their interests on a global scale and perspective—from fashion to wars to endangered animals and plastic pollution—many students are developing new interests and passions and want to share those,” said Michelle Carton, librarian, Tudor Elementary School. “Students are now passionate about their world. They check out books on subjects across the spectrum. They think about the role they play in the world and aren’t afraid to encourage each other. I can’t help but think that if all elementary school students participated in a program like this, we could make amazing gains as a nation.”
Carton said the “Young Global Citizens” program has been a life-changing experience for many of her young students and has prompted them to critically analyze their place in the world.
“They learn the ‘why’, the underlying information that leads to perspectives, actions, choices, and beliefs of cultures all across the world,” Carton said. “At the end of the day, they learn they really aren’t all that different, and that in order for our world to continue to prosper, everyone equally needs to do their part, learn all they can about the challenges and solutions, and take action. They believe that the future of their world is in their own hands.”
Last month, Follett Challenge announced Tudor Elementary was one of three semifinalists along with Middle School 343 – Academy of Aplied Mathematics and Technology in Bronx, N.Y. (video: “Why We Debate”); and North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham (video: “When Your Classroom Spans the State”). Both schools each earn $30,000 in Follett products and services. Another 10 schools, whose video submissions received the highest number of online votes from the public, each earned $8,000 in Follett products and services.
“We couldn't be more excited to celebrate what the students and community at Tudor Elementary are doing to connect with the world!” Shannon McClintock-Miller, a recognized and respected K-12 library leader, said on behalf of the Follett Challenge’s judging committee. “The global connections they are making with schools, libraries, scientists, global humans and, most of all, other young people, are opening their eyes and hearts by giving them experiences, knowledge and perspectives that will make a difference in their lives forever.
“This community has so much to share and I hope others are inspired to do the same within their libraries, classrooms and schools. In the beginning of their video, these words scroll across the screen, ‘Connect with the world to celebrate peace, kindness and justice’. I am happy we can share their story and beautiful Young Global Citizens project with the world.”
Carton said she and her Tudor Elementary colleagues were “shocked but grateful” to win the 2018 Follett Challenge.
“In the end, it feels like we are getting the deserved validation for all the hard work we do,” she said. “We don’t do it for the validation, but it feels really good and will encourage me to do even more and push the bounds to a new level. I couldn’t be more thankful to Follett for recognizing the power in creating young global citizens!”
Follett Challenge entrants must complete an online application and submit a video describing their program. The contest rewards groundbreaking educational programs by seeking applications illustrating critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration. All K-12 schools/districts, public and private, in the U.S., Canada, and Australia are eligible to apply.
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