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Four HHS Seniors Complete Rigorous Global Scholars Program

Felicidades 2021 Highlands Global Scholars 


Congratulations to the 2021 Highlands Global Scholars Sydney Altfather, Josh Beck, Austin Burchell and Kiley Karolkoski for demonstrating their global competence! 


During their time at Highlands High School, these students completed the rigorous requirements of the Global Scholars Program

  • 8 academic courses that are global in nature including 4 years of Spanish
  • 4 global extracurricular activities
  • 20 global service hours
  • 8 global literature/media reviews


When asked to reflect on their most meaningful Global Scholars activities, all students cited the global service hours as one of their favorites. 


The global service activity that Sydney particularly enjoyed was writing letters to refugee children around the world. During a Human Rights and Refugee Unit in Spanish class this year, she discovered a youth-led international non-profit organization called Letters of Love that provides psychosocial support to refugee children. Sydney said, “With this organization, I was able to write letters to refugee children regarding love, hope and solidarity.” After graduation, Sydney plans to study Communications and Public Relations at Chatham University and continue to explore global sustainability issues. 


One of Josh’s most memorable global activities was a mission trip to Cuba during the summer of 2019 with the First United Presbyterian Church of Tarentum. Josh shared that the trip enabled him “to have a local impact on others” and it gave him “a broader perspective of the world.” After graduation, Josh plans to pursue Jazz Studies at the University of Miami and continue learning Spanish.


Both Austin and Kiley cited the Spanish lessons that they and their classmates designed and implemented with HES students this year as a favorite Global Scholars activity. Austin said that he enjoyed teaching younger kids Spanish and he feels that “it helps the students to be more open-minded.” After graduation, Austin plans to study Political Science at Slippery Rock University’s Honors College and may also explore international affairs.


In reflection of the HES Spanish lessons, Kiley stated, “I think that it is so beneficial for kids to be taught a different language at an early age.” She added, “Being in Spanish for four years has opened my eyes to a better view and appreciation for the language itself, the different cultures that I have learned along the way and the opportunities that it will present me with in the future.” After graduation, Kiley plans to study Biology at Slippery Rock University and continue her friendship with her penpal in Ecuador. 


During the Senior Awards Ceremony in May, Sydney, Josh, Austin and Kiley will receive a Global Scholars Certificate and global honors cords to wear at graduation. They are four of eight Highlands High School students to receive this honor since the program was introduced three years ago. Additionally, they are among 102 Global Scholars from 18 high schools in the state of Pennsylvania this year. The students were also honored by the Highlands School Board and Superintendent Dr. Monique Mawhinney at the May 17 School Board Meeting. 


iFelicidades Sydney, Josh, Austin y Kiley!


The Global Scholars Program, sponsored by Highlands High School and the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA), is an interdisciplinary program that helps cultivate globally minded students who, upon graduation, will be better prepared to negotiate our increasingly international society. 


Special Thanks to Señora Laura ProañoHHS Global Scholars Program Coordinator, for this article about the Global Scholars and their accomplishments!