Early in the morning on Wednesday, December 4th, 2018, the students of Mr. Saltaformaggio’s American Government course at Gerstell Academy participated in an unprecedented event in the school’s young history. At 7:00 A.M. in the Leadership Boardroom, Alan Mogilnay, Antonio Holland, Declan Kenney, Deven Hankins, Max Friedman, Noel Talbot, and Tyra Echevarria Skyped across the globe to a group of students attending the Mount Abu School in Delhi, India. These seven Gerstell Academy students facilitated a deep and personal conversation with the students of the Mount Abu School, discussing different types of government, cultural values, and crucial political affairs.
The two classes began by delivering opening statements, each touching upon integral parts about their country’s governments and relaying the important logistics details about them. In particular, Mr. Saltaformaggio’s class emphasized the importance of the three branches of government and the voting systems within the United States while the students of the Mount Abu School explained the Indian parliamentary republic system and its significance in their country. Through this brief and objective discussion and the sharing of interesting, new perspectives, the students of both institutions felt they were able to increase their knowledge and understanding of the foreign political world, an essentiality for future leaders of the modern world.
After both parties exchanged their summaries, the conversation turned to an informative and enlightening Q&A session exploring the culture, government, and politics of the United States of America and India. Mr. Saltaformaggio’s students asked a multitude of thought-provoking questions, some including, “Do you feel that your voice is heard in India?” and “What is something you would change about your own government?” The students of the Mount Abu School responded with their own set of questions, some including, “What is the personal freedom you value the most in the United States?” and “What is a major issue your government is dealing with right now within your country?” It was questions like these that opened the minds of these promising young students, allowing them to engage in a wonderful, worldly learning environment where the art of free expression was enhanced and the respect for all types of opinions was limitless.
The Skype call concluded after roughly 90 minutes with both classes having felt they had gained a plethora of exciting insight and had established a friendship spanning more than 12,000 miles. Upon conclusion of the call, students were requesting to make this is a regular event stating they now have a greater desire to gain an understanding of others perspectives on issues facing the world today.