Student Stories

World Savvy students are journalists, artists, poets, rappers, researchers and passionate activists for a cause. Below, students describe their own unique story about what makes them World Savvy.

Molly Jansen, St. Anthony Village High School, MN

Program: World Savvy Classrooms—Challenge Pathway; American Youth Leadership Program with Bangladesh

"I am World Savvy because when discussing and solving the issues of today, I’ve abandoned this notion of Us and Them in favor of We."

 K2A project: Explored the carbon footprint associated with domestically-grown cut-flowers.  

 “World Savvy matured my perspective of current events. I stopped looking at the news as one-time occurrences but as synecdoche to the overarching picture. I have a much more intimate relationship with my food, as I have unearthed how exactly it was produced—whether that be poorly or well— through my World Savvy Classrooms work.”

Kassra Taghizadeh, Southwest High School, MN

Program: World Savvy Classrooms—Challenge Pathway & Media and Arts Pathway

"I am World Savvy because when an issue arises that needs a solution to be discovered as soon as possible, I want to be there."

 K2A project: Created a cover of the rap song Thrift Shop by Macklemore that provided commentary on organic foods and food deserts in Minneapolis.

 “I learned a lot from both of the programs I participated in, but the greatest idea that impacted me was that a simple gesture or idea of change in the world could affect so many people, on local, national, and global scales. My project for the Media Arts Pathway was most important to me because my group and I tried to find ways to make our homes and neighborhood healthier.”

Kifaya Taha, Central High School, MN

Program: American Youth Leadership Program with Bangladesh.

"I am World Savvy because I prioritize and feel responsible for breaking down barriers that are cast up around the world.

My stay at JAAGO (a school in Bangladesh) increased my interest on the topic of Environmental Refugees and how they are not recognized by the United Nations. I am more passionate about social justice and equal opportunities to education in underserved/underrepresented communities, and most of all, I developed an even bigger responsibility to educate others on the topic of climate change and how actions in one area are affecting another without those causing the problems being aware of their actions.”

Marcos Giossi, St. Anthony Village High School, MN

Program: American Youth Leadership Program with Peru

"I am World Savvy because I strive to be aware of my surroundings and the needs of my community, so that I can continue making a positive impact."

 K2A project: Developed a gleaning project that brings unused produce from farmers markets to local food banks.

 “In Peru, I learned not only about how food and health education can help people, but also effective methods of working with communities and creating successful and meaningful cross-cultural relationships. I am already using some of these methods for my community K2A project in Minneapolis: I’ve been collaborating with the farmers markets and food shelves instead of imposing a project on them. I’ve also made sure to take their wants and needs into account so that everyone can benefit from this project.”

Sofia Siqueira, Piedmont High School, CA

Program: American Youth Leadership Program to Bangladesh

"I am World Savvy because I know that to be a global citizen, you have to expand your horizons and think of the world as a whole."

K2A project: A globe trotter with a love for travel, Sofia found that her month-long trip to Bangladesh as part of the American Youth Leadership Program differed from all other travel experiences, “I got to experience what life was like for a Bangladeshi family instead of just observing.”  After her immersion in Bangladeshi culture, Sofia returned determined to educate others about the impact of climate change, and found the perfect venue at the Oakland Zoo: “I set up a station about climate change and how it affects animals around the world and teach visitors through games, activities, pictures, and writing.”

Christina Ngo, University of California San Diego

Program: World Savvy Classrooms—Challenge Pathway

"I am World Savvy because when I hear news about a certain topic, I research deeply into it instead of relying on broad, vague statements.

Working with others in my team and school, along with coaching younger students, became largely important to me because of the message World Savvy helped promote: the idea that change does not come with whining or waiting, but with ideas, collaboration, and action. By participating in the competition for the last three years and coaching several others in it for the last two, I feel as though my horizons have expanded and my initiative to make change has greatly increased. By understanding different problems of the present, we are able to create a plethora of solutions for the future.”

For even more student stories, visit our 12 Years, 12 Stories page.