Students from Ukraine recently visited Osseo Area Schools, meeting the students and teachers and experiencing a day in the schools. Each day, the visiting students partnered with Link Crew leaders at three of the high schools. These international students were a part of the YouLEAD program, sponsored by Global Synergy Group.
On Friday, the students visited Maple Grove Senior High School. The Ukrainian students were not only able to attend classes with their Link Crew partner, but were also able to attend a pep fest, where they sang the Ukrainian National Anthem in front of the whole school.
After their day with the MGSH students, the visiting students from Ukraine participated in a roundtable discussion with Supt. Dr. Hiel, allowing Dr. Hiel to share her leadership journey and why she got into education. Dr. Hiel shared about what she believes it means to be a leader and the importance of student engagement and voice.
“In our district, every student gets the same opportunities and experiences. They get to decide their dreams, it is our job to support their dream,” Dr. Hiel shared.
“I really enjoy how teachers interact with students here. I really like how they try to know and understand their students,” one of the visiting students shared with the group after their day at MGSH.
On Monday, the YouLEAD students visited Park Center Senior High School. After meeting their Link Crew partner, the students all had breakfast together and went about their day, attending classes, meeting the other students and teachers at the school and getting a tour. The group came back together at the end of the day to discuss what their favorite parts had been and what they learned.
On Tuesday, the Ukrainian students accompanied Link Crew leaders at Osseo Senior High School. After their day together, the students from both OSH and Ukraine met in the auditorium to talk about what they learned from their visit that can help them be a good leader and how to step out of their comfort zone.
After visiting all three schools, one of the YouLEAD students commented that each of the schools had something different that made it feel special, and how welcomed he felt at all of the schools.
By the end of the school day at each of the schools, the students from Osseo Area Schools and Ukraine had built real relationships, exchanging contact information and social media and giving each other handshakes and hugs as they said goodbye.
“You can make connections that are very strong in just one day. And sometimes, those lessons will last,” Brian Siverson-Hall, Executive Director of Community Engagement and one of the coordinators of the partnership between Osseo Area Schools and YouLEAD, told the students at the end of the visit.