McKim Jean-Pierre ’16 has been selected to receive a full, merit-based scholarship to attend an intensive leadership training program in South Africa this summer.
McKim was one of only 15 students selected solely on her merits from a pool of 200 applicants for the highly competitive Experiment Leadership Institute in South Africa. The institute is a program of The Experiment in International Living (EIL), a Brattleboro, Vt.-based organization that provides summer abroad programs for high school students who want to connect deeply and engage meaningfully with the richness and complexities of another country.
McKim, a boarding student from Milford, Mass., is an International Baccalaureate diploma candidate at SBS, which is the first and only girls’ school in New England to offer this academically rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum. She is also involved in Student Council, the Community Service Club, and Students of Color, as well as serves as a Blue Key tour guide for prospective students and their families.
McKim was thrilled to learn she was accepted into the program. She believes she has grown in many ways since first arriving at SBS as an 8th grader, and is excited to continue to grow as a leader through her first trip abroad.
She said, “My growth at SBS will allow me to be a member of our group who is not afraid to speak her mind, and who also is very aware of multiple perspectives and cultures. From my experience at SBS and how it has shaped me into who I am today, I will be able to contribute multicultural ideas and solutions in an open manner that is thoughtful, analytical, and respectful, as well as contribute positive encouragement for new cultural opportunities. The reason I can do this is because of SBS. At Stoneleigh, I have really found my voice.”
The summer program, “South Africa: Youth Leadership in Peace, Politics, and Human Rights,” will begin with four days of intensive leadership training in Washington D.C., where McKim will participate in trainings, workshops, field trips, group exercises, and discussions with political and non-government organization leaders. Then, she will travel to South Africa for four weeks, visiting Johannesburg, Drakensburg, Cato Manor, and Amacabini. Upon her return to the United States, McKim will spend three days on EIL’s School for International Training campus in Brattleboro, Vt., for synthesis sessions, briefings, a re-entry workshop, and brainstorming sessions on a post-program project.
McKim’s teachers and school administrators enthusiastically recommended her for the South Africa program. French teacher Miriam Przybyla-Baum said McKim has become one of SBS’s best role models as a leader due to her strong work ethic, self-reliance, and helpfulness.
‘When McKim speaks, girls listen to her because they respect her,” she said. “There is a drive in her to help others, and she recognizes cultural, religious, and socio-economic differences. She has taught her peers concepts like gratitude, empathy, and trust.”
Head of School Sally Mixsell said, “McKim is one of our most reliable Blue Key tour guides. She appreciates every opportunity given to her so the opportunity in going to South Africa will not be lost on her. She and her family have a deep appreciation for cross-cultural relationships. Her parents are Haitian, and they regularly offer to host some of our international students.”