Written in March, 2012 and saved to be shared this February 29th.
On February 29, 2016, our high schoolers at the Uruguayan American School will be in college, our middle schoolers will be in high school, and upper elementary students will have joined the secondary school. Brazil will be preparing to host the Olympics here in South America and students will no longer be carrying textbooks to and from their homes. With change occurring with increasing rapidity, it’s actually difficult to envision what our school will be like in four years!
On this Leap Year Day, February 29, 2012, UAS students were asked to consider their aspirations for and to imagine their lives in four years time when the next February 29th will arrive. One of our students, Matias B., a sixth grader, considered what the world would be like: “I will probably have the iPad 6 and Uruguay would have won the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics!” He wanted a world that would be “peaceful, organized and safe” where there “won’t be robbery or accidents.” Another 4th grader, Martina O, considered tablets as well, saying “…I don’t need an iPad to be happy, I just need to be myself.” Our third graders perhaps offered the most intriguing version of the future, with many of them imagining “fast flying Ferraris” that at least one of them wanted to be test-driving. Seb (grade 5) dreams of having “a 3-D television and also a refrigerator with smores inside.”
Indeed, UAS students’ aspirations for the next Leap Year Day took many forms. Our Upper Elementary students were excited about becoming secondary school students, worried about increased workloads and expectations but enjoying the prospect of being a part of the Friendship Games with schools in Curitiba, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Guille (5th grade) said, “Since I love sports, I would love to be in SAAC and going to countries… [and later] maybe I can make an exchange and have a cool experience.”
Personal improvement took on myriad forms in student’s musings. “I would be 16 and I wish to improve drawing and read even more books,” said Victoria (grade 5). Martin (grade 6) hopes to be “stronger, healthier and smarter.” Maksis is keen “to have learned multiple programming languages and be getting good grades.” Tony (grade 8) will be a Senior and would like to have been accepted to school at University of Richmond. Marie (grade 8) plans to build on her strengths, saying, “I would like to study communications because I really like talking and, basically, communicating!”
Anto (grade 7) hopes to be “famous by that time like a singer, actress, meeting Justin Bieber, and helping animals and people in need.” Justin Beiber came up quite a few student responses, raising the question of his status as a icon for young people in 2016! Whether it was with Justin Beiber or another person, one UAS student noted that in 2016 “I will be a teenager—that means I would fall in love for the first time.”
Many of our UAS students love travel and are keen to go places. Whether envisioning a return home to places like Paris, Caracas or Maryland, or going to new destinations such as to college in the U.S. or an international school in Peru, new ports of call were a central tenet of our mobile populations’ collective aspirations. Many students echoed Shanelle M’s (grade 5) focus on language learning as a key strategy to gain international mobility: “I am dreaming to speak perfectly in four languages–Russian, English, Spanish and French.”
Many boys and girls imagined becoming college and professional athletes in sports such as tennis, basketball and, most often, soccer. But the arts also featured prominently in students’ goals as well. For Felipe (grade 10), the future might involve medicine or engineering, but also songwriting, “…because music is life.” Danielle (grade 11) would love to be in a music program in a college in Boston majoring in writing film scores and musical compositions. In preparation, Danielle is working with our Middle School music students as a student aide for Mr. D’Angelo. “In four years,” Sanaa (grade 8) wrote, “I would like to be studying at Julliard,” and to get there, “I will also work hard to have excellent grades to be able to change jobs in the future easily.”
Jacob (grade 5) appears ready to take a change-oriented and multifaceted world by storm: “I want to get my name out there…save an animal, live life…all the basics.” Another complex combination of goals came from another young UAS student, Joseph (grade 6), who envisions “Living in Idaho with my chocolate lab, Bella, secretly working under cover in a hot dog stand.” An older student, Martin (grade 11) wishes to both attend Columbia University and, together with a group of friends, “work in a small, independent gaming company that I founded.”
Many UAS students young and old focused their future plans on making a difference in the world in positive ways. Carlota (grade 5) notes that “I am too young to travel now but when I am 15 they might let me go. I really want to go to Africa to help the sick, starving, thirsty children and adults. I also wish I could help all the animals that are getting extinct.” Vanessa (grade 11) echoed these selfless thoughts, saying quite simply, “I hope to have made a change in someone’s life.”
Our students also placed primacy on family and friends. Eliana (grade 8) stated, “I hope that in four years my family will be healthy and happy.” Marco (grade 8) hopes to be “really good friends with staff…and I will have friends that will help me through thick and thin.” Veronica (grade 8) hoped that her “teachers and classmates [would] see me as a friendly person who they would be proud of.”
Audrey, will be 13 in four years, knows that she will be taller and would like also like to be smarter. She concludes by stating, “Even though I’ll be older, I will always be me.” One of her fourth grade colleagues had a conversation with her future self in Korea. She talked with herself about the importance of what she is doing right here and right now:
“Please, reach your, and my, dream.”
“It all depends on you, Danha, and me, here in Montevideo, Uruguay.”