Sunday, April 29, 2012

This never happened when I was in high school :(

Yeah so students at Chicago Public High Schools were able to see Gorbachev and other Nobel Prize winners at their respective schools this past week. Awesome indeed!
It was an unusual day in social studies class at Frederick Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, a public high school on the North Side of this city. Monday’s class was taught by a substitute teacher: Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Gorbachev, 81, appeared before a roomful of teenage students and recalled his negotiations with President Ronald Reagan in the late 1980s — years before any of them were born — to reduce the world’s nuclear stockpiles.

“The world could have exploded at any moment,” he said through an interpreter. “It would have taken a few hours to destroy civilization.”

Mr. Gorbachev was among a who’s who of historic figures fanning out at Chicago’s public high schools, here for a gathering of Nobel Peace Prize winners. It was the first time the annual event was being held in the United States, and in anticipation, high school students around Chicago had been studying the laureates’ accomplishments as part of a “special human rights curriculum,” developed by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and Chicago public school teachers.

“We’re not starting with some large opening ceremony at some large hall,” said Terry Mazany, who was the interim head of Chicago Public Schools when the planning began last year for the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, which opened here on Monday. “We’re starting at the public schools with serious dialogue between the peace laureates and students. We’re bringing a student voice to the conversation.”

At schools nearby, F. W. de Klerk, the former president of South Africa who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993 for their work to end apartheid, and Muhammad Yunus, a microfinance pioneer from Bangladesh who won the honor in 2006, were among others visiting 17 classrooms throughout the city.
Having them dress in their Sunday best and I would be very curious about the type of questions they would ask. They had better be good questions!

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