The former three term governor of Vermont visited with Shekou International School (SIS) students recently. Urging students to “use their voice to make a difference,” former Governor Peter Shumlin recounted his story of how he entered politics to make change at the local level. Finding that he was effective, Shumlin ran for state governor and soon found himself working with world leaders such as former President Barack Obama, President Xi Jinping and Vice President Mike Pence. During his three terms of service, former Governor Shumlin transformed Vermont into the leading solar state in the United States and moved Vermont’s electric grid to 100% renewable energy.
“You can make a difference just looking around and figuring out what needs to change and then raising your voice,” encouraged former Governor Shumlin. “That’s what so great about this school (SIS). They ask you to give back. In fact, it is required.”
Firmly set in his belief that his term of service should only be three terms, former Governor Shumlin is now back at Putney Student Travel, the company his parents founded that provides programs for middle and high school students. Similar to SIS’s Week Without Walls, the Putney programs provide opportunities for students to learn how to make a difference. Students take on responsibilities that matter to the communities with whom they live while on Putney programs. From helping to build a school in Costa Rica to teaching English in Africa, students explore the world around them and are taught to ask how they can make a difference for other people.
While at SIS, former Governor Shumlin spent time with the senior DP Economics class to discuss his experiences implementing macroeconomic policy at the state level. Students had an opportunity to hear first hand how policies are formulated and enacted. He emphasized to all students the importance of recognizing a sense of responsibility bigger than going to a great college. He encouraged the students to explore how they can make a difference for other people.
Former Governor Shumlin’s discussion inspired many SIS students and before departing he met with Robert Stearns, Head of School at SIS and Dale Cox, Vice President Asia-Pacific, International School Services to discuss a partnership that could provide SIS students with even broader opportunities for service learning across the world. Students had many positive comments about the opportunity to interact with a world leader and are motivated to apply his advice to their own service learning.
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