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Students Transform into World Leaders During Trip to Spain & Morocco

Five Thurgood Marshall Academy students ignited their passion for cultural enrichment when they signed up for an intensive 18-month long program with the Global Scholars Foundation (GSF). GSF is dedicated to transforming District youth, many of whom are first generation college students and residents of DC’s most underserved Wards, into culturally competent world travelers.

After identifying students who have expressed interest in learning a foreign language and exploring a new culture, GSF introduces them to the language and cultural practices of the country they will travel in the summer. This year, after five students in the sophomore and junior classes persisted through the enrichment programs provided by GSF throughout the year, they joined their peers from neighborhood schools for a 12-day exploration throughout Spain and Morocco.

Our students’ participation in the program aligns with Thurgood Marshall Academy’s two-part mission that prepares students to succeed in college and actively engage in our democratic society. Not only have these students excelled academically, but their desire to delve into issues that provide the opportunity to be world leaders is impressive. The experience, according to GSF, is intended to open local teens’ eyes to the world as they know it and open their minds to the global world of which they belong.

The journey started off in Spain where the students went on a guided tour in some of the country’s famous and historic cities including Madrid, Seville, and Andalucía. In Madrid, the group enjoyed a panoramic city tour and got up close and personal with The Royal Palace, Cibeles and Neptuno Fountains, and other attractions.

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Darrius Cook (right), 2015 GSF Scholar

“Madrid feels like a foreign New York, and I love that,” said Darrius Cook, 11th grader at Thurgood Marshall Academy. “My favorite part of the trip so far is the tour of the Mosques and Jewish Quarter. It was out of this world. The architecture of the buildings, the halls, and the pillars were breathtaking.”

In Seville, students brushed up on their dancing skills during an interactive Flamenco tour. Andalucía led students to Ronda just before they made way to Costa Del Sol where they boarded a Ferry that took them into Morocco. Keeping Thurgood Marshall Academy’s goal to prepare students for college at the center of the trip, students visited the oldest existing, continually operating and the first degree awarding university in the world, located in Fes, Morocco.

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Thomas Dabney, 2015 GSF scholar

While all the students were fascinated with the cultured and historical landmarks and attractions, some students were able to reconnect with loved ones. “I am excited to continue traveling. In Morocco, I hope to see my Uncle Moe. He lives in Rabat,” said Thomas Dabney, rising senior at Thurgood Marshall Academy.

For more of our students’ reactions to and experiences from Spain and Morocco, read their travel blog online at: gsf-hscdc.org/scholarsblog/.