(originally published on MiddleWeb)
The National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS) held their Annual Conference from June 22-24, 2015 at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, Virginia. The theme was “From STEM to STEAM: Girls’ Schools Leading the Way.” Sally Mixsell, Head of School, attended along with science teachers Andrea Tehan Carnes and Meghan Lena, and Bill Ivey, Middle School Dean. Over the weeks following the conference, we are sharing our thoughts on what we learned and what we did.
by Karen Suchenski
It is early morning and the start of the final leg of our journey home from Hong Kong to the US and back to SBS classrooms. Claire and I take one last fast-paced walk in an elongated terminal of Beijing International Capital Airport, a vast facility sprawling across 3,700 acres. We relish this movement, weaving in among chrome-countered duty-free shops, for we anticipate 13 hours of cramped encampment in an Air China economy-class cabin where we will be folded and as tightly packed, passenger-to-passenger, in our row of seats as are multiple layers of wafers in a Hong Kong favorite cookie. We arrive at the gate for final boarding and bear one more security check.
“Have travel boarding passes ready please,” the sign translates the Chinese characters for us. I hand my pass to the attendant. She scans it and looks up at me as if confused. She pauses and speaks halting English as she crosses off my pass information and adds new numbers.
The subject header, "Read if you are so inclined," telegraphed that the student who had sent this "All School" email had something important on her mind. She wrote, "Below is a link to a New York Times article. I believe that is important to keep track of what happens outside of our SBS community, and this article in particular moved me beyond words. Reading it I found myself analyzing my role as a student and as a woman growing up in western society." She was referring to an article by Declan Walsh about the Taliban attack on Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani activist who had won her country's peace prize a year ago for her advocacy of girls' education. According to the article, the Taliban put her on an assassination list last spring for "openly propagating [Western Culture]," calling her human rights campaigning an "obscenity" and vowing to return and finish the job if she survives. (Walsh) As I write, reports are mixed, some stating she will be okay and that the bullet did not pass through her brain, others stating that she will need to be flown out of the country to receive complicated surgery if she is to live.