Imagine a place where students evolve into agents of change. Using what they learn in classroom, they collaborate to influence their peers, local and global governments, and the economy.
That’s Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, one of the top private schools in the Southern United States. Situated in the lush Wolffork valley, hugged by stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia, this is where students take part in the transformative Nation Builders Programme.
Their journey starts with being chosen to travel with their Rabun Gap faculty mentor to Egypt. Working with US embassies and peer students abroad, they tackle global issues that aim to meet the United Nations sustainable development goals. Others compete in innovation challenges to develop applications that address real-world issues domestically and abroad.Last year, Rabun Gap students worked virtually with youth from various schools in Egypt, the US Embassy in Cairo, and the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports. Their goal? Developing prototypes for their ideas.
For the final phase, participants competed, pitching their ideas to officials in Cairo and Washington D.C. Private and non-profit organisations like Microsoft, Alston & Bird Law Firm, the Carter Center, Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer Law Firm, the Women of AT&T, and the Technology Association of Georgia, were present — and were impressed.
Microsoft Philanthropies, Women of AT&T, and the Technology Association of Georgia committed resources to helping scale the programme globally. Wilkinson, Barker, and Knauer Law Firm pledged to provide pro bono legal services to protect the intellectual property of the students as programme participants. Alston & Bird Law Firm plans to back the development of a pipeline programme that will guide interested students to a legal career beginning in 10th grade.
“We are proud of our students,” says programme leader and mentor Mason West, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “We are also thankful for the investment of resources by the prestigious organisations that are collaborating with them to help build a better world.”
This year, the programme is expanding into Mexico and students are travelling there to make the same impact or bigger.
What makes Rabun Gap a fitting partner for this programme is its global community and its commitment to applied learning. Applied learning, a cornerstone of the Rabun Gap academic experience, allows students to follow their curiosity and to develop real applications for local and global issues that directly tie to what they are learning in the classroom.
Nation Builders Programme participants enhance these aspects even more.
Home to students come from more than 50 countries, Rabun Gap is enlivened further by the conversations brought home by participants about their global experiences. Classrooms are enriched by new skills honed from abroad, such as leadership, collaboration, problem-solving, presentation and and training experience — all of which help participants and their peers add a more competitive edge when applying to college.
The school boasts a 100% acceptance rate to top colleges and universities in the US and beyond. Such success is built on the back of Rabun Gap’s unique Upper School academic experience.
A classic liberal arts curriculum is paired with experiential learning in laboratories and through partnerships with local universities and research organisations. Twenty Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered in all academic areas. There’s a full array of arts, athletics, and outdoor programmes as well, supported by a Teaching and Learning Centree with peer tutoring, math laboratory, and more.
Add college test preparation and registration assistance (PSAT, PLAN, SAT, ACT, and TOEFL) and a comprehensive four-year college counselling programme, and it’s little surprise many Rabun Gap students chart their course to success.
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