Testimonials

Alumni
Becca Williams, Class of 2014
It is hard for my college classes to live up to the standard that IGSS set for my classes. . .

"Sometimes I think that IGSS was such an incredible experience, that it is hard for my college classes to live up to the standard that IGSS set for my classes. . . . I think that I would have had a really hard time discovering how I loved to learn best without IGSS, and I really feel like I have been so fortunate to be able to discover my passions in school."

Krista Martinka, Class of 2012
Here's to hoping I can have as much of an impact on my students as you had on me!

"In the classes I teach I'm trying to integrate project-based learning as much as I can. So much of what I'm doing is bringing me back to IGSS and reminding me of how much it helped me grow as both a student and a person. Here's to hoping I can have as much of an impact on my students as you had on me!"

Olivia Loucks, Class of 2013
I am grateful for the person I became through my time in IGSS

"I feel so grateful to have gained from IGSS the ability to have difficult conversations - ones that do not always have easy answers.

Today and everyday I am grateful for the person I became through my time in IGSS. Thank you for sharing your passion, for opening our minds, and for dedicating yourselves to making IGSS the incredible and transformative space that it is."

Caroline Gray, Class of 2013
I truly miss the IGSS mission statement.

"I truly miss the IGSS mission statement. I just got done with a 30 day sea kayaking and backpacking course up in Alaska with the National Outdoor Leadership School. It was an Outdoor Educator course, with a curriculum geared toward teaching how to teach and experiential and place-based learning. I had a lot of time to reflect on the IGSS program and had some great discussions about knowledge, learning and teaching styles."

Margot Young, Class of 2012
Your teaching, guidance, and program really changed my life.

"I just wanted to send you a quick thank you. If it had not been for IGSS, I would not have gone to Pitzer, discovered all of these deep-seated passions, and have lived in Nepal. Your teaching, guidance, and program really changed my life."

Dana Nothnagel, Class of 2015
I’m so proud to be an alumna!

"I miss IGSS more than anything; it was definitely the hardest thing to say goodbye to at NT. . . . I'm so proud to be an alumna!"

Rory Gilchrist, Class of 2012
IGSS was (is) one of the better choices of my educational career

"IGSS was (is) one of the better choices of my educational career. The Integrated Global Studies School places students and teachers in a cohesive learning community; engaging primary texts, ideas, and each other while looking for the greater threads that connect us all. We IGSSers take charge of our own education, deciding collectively the trajectory of the curriculum-placing our interests and curiosities in the context of the larger globe. Every day I think of how my experience in IGSS and at New Trier prepared and enriches me in college."

Sally French, Class of 2013
IGSS changed how I approach my education completely.

"IGSS changed how I approach my education completely. We did not learn content just for a test, but instead learned how to ask questions, explore them, and eventually construct and interpret arguments. I had always been an excellent student, but felt stifled by the boundaries set forth by my other teachers. I was glad to be challenged by my IGSS teachers in a new and exciting way. The comments I received on my projects and papers were unique to me, and instead of just throwing away papers after they'd been assessed, I carefully read my teachers' comments and took what they said to heart. IGSS taught me how to learn.

But also on a larger scale, IGSS helped me learn what is important to me and how to go about getting it. I was treated like a human being with a future instead of a grade for one school year. And that really affected me as a young adult because it made me see that what I believe and value matters in this world. Today, it is difficult for me not to think big picture or not to be drawing constant connections across academic fields. I am applying for nursing school and as I evaluate why this program should accept me I realize it is because of this reason. I am a student of Public Health and Latin American Studies, two interdisciplinary majors that cover a vast area of academic fields. I am a yoga teacher specialized in working with people who experience chronic pain. I am a birth and abortion doula. I am a product of this ever-connected, globalized world, and I can see across boundaries and bring together different worlds of thought. For that reason I know I will make an excellent nurse-midwife. And I can gladly trace this growth back to my time spent at the Integrated Global Studies School."

Ryan Westerberg, Class of 2017
The IGSS community pushed me

"The IGSS community does an amazing job of breaking down the barriers that block students from taking charge of their education. Walking into IGSS I was always met with smiling faces and encouraging words. The IGSS community pushed me to take on programming projects that increased my confidence and skill set as a software developer. Today I follow along a similar path by working as a developer at startups while also dedicating time for non-profit work. Without my IGSS experience I would likely be sitting back dreaming but not putting words to action."

Parents
Bonnie Vasilion, Class of 2012 and 2018
He is doing things I never imagined. He has become confident and independent . . .

"I couldn't let the year end without letting you know how grateful we are to you for sticking by Greg and working with him to reach his potential. As you know, more than anyone, his growth over the past year has been outrageous. I feel like I have my Greg back: the child who loved school, learning and life as a grade schooler.

IGSS changed his world. I know that's an extreme statement; it's true though. He is doing things I never imagined. He has become confident and independent . . . He has gained a confidence that has enabled him to explore ideas and opportunities that he would have never reached for previously.

Greg and his Dad and I still talk about those 2 years with IGSS that made the biggest positive impact on Greg's life."

Katherine Glattard, Class of 2012
. . . he has learned to live the New Trier mission to "Commit minds to inquiry, hearts to compassion, and lives to the service of humanity".

"I am thankful that my son has had the incredible opportunity to be part of the IGSS community. He has evolved into an inquisitive, engaging and motivated person. Through this outstanding program he has learned to live the New Trier mission to "Commit minds to inquiry, hearts to compassion, and lives to the service of humanity". That, I truly believe, is the benchmark of success.

. . . you have truly affected Chris' high school education and his life, and I am so thankful that your path crossed with his. He is a different person because of all his IGSS teachers, in a way that amazes me still to this day, . . . "



Patti Furman, Class of 2017
. . . Bridget got so much out of the wonderful program of IGSS.

" . . . Bridget got so much out of the wonderful program of IGSS. It really is an enriching program that I hope continues forever at New Trier so that other students can reap from the benefits from it, as Bridget has. Thanks again to you and all of the IGSS teachers.

Eve Williams, Class of 2014 and 2016
. . . it's the first time in a long while I've seen her engaged at school

"I wanted to thank you profusely for offering the IGSS program, and for including Rebecca. She loves it, and it's the first time in a long while I've seen her engaged at school."

Amy McCormac, Class of 2016
. . . she realizes she is better prepared than many of her classmates . . .

"Her time in IGSS prepared her very well for the experiential learning she is getting in school, and she realizes she is better prepared than many of her classmates, and appreciates that!"

Robert Angarone, Class of 2018
These young adults are so much ahead of their predecessors it makes my head spin . . .

"I attended the IGSStravaganza on January 19, 2017. I just wanted to thank you all for one of the most enjoyable evenings I have ever had at New Trier High School . . .

It surprised me just how much an adult could possibly stand to learn from a group of high school juniors and seniors in just one evening. . . . These young adults are so much ahead of their predecessors it makes my head spin. The stated mission of the IGGS program is certainly being carried out -inquiring and exploring, guided by compassion, seeking transformation in themselves and the world. It also gives me comfort to know the next generation will be filled with smart, independent thinking souls ready to tackle the problems they will certainly face."

Brad Keywell, Class of 2017
I know it has been a key part of her love of learning . . .

"Thanks again for what you've created at IGSS - our daughter is a more dynamic and confident and independent person because of it, and I know it has been a key part of her love of learning. It is very special and very impactful - what you do matters to your students in ways they will appreciate more and more as they grow older. So … thank you!"

Jein Murray, Class of 2016
. . . you let them be themselves, you return the love for learning, and the goal is to ponder and wonder and exchange and discover, not to produce or score or deliver results.

"She credits so much of this new chapter in her life to you both, and IGSS, along with your incredible team (she also speaks so fondly of Mac, Josie, Darrin and Lindsay).

First, [my daughter] credits her IGSS narrative for her admission to McGill. . . . she is grateful for her IGSS narrative being a part of her transcript to set her apart.

As her parent, it brought to me to tears to see teachers appreciate her for who she is, who she wants to be, and who she could become. . . . To have your respect and encouragement has been like having additional parents in her life.

The love for learning that she rediscovered through IGSS . . . gave Maddie back to us as a family. IGSS let her wonder, feel curious, be joyful, be unique, and be celebrated for just that.

. . . she has found, via IGSS, the courage again to be herself.

At your IGSS presentations, you have shown a slide that asks "why are all the IGSS students so happy?" And I would answer...because you let them be themselves, you return the love for learning, and the goal is to ponder and wonder and exchange and discover, not to produce or score or deliver results."