Students at WHSAD know that if they have an interest in something, the school can usually accommodate in allowing them to pursue that passion. Whether looking into the various aspects of architecture, serving the community in volunteer projects, or developing career skills, WHSAD students can often find what they seek. This past week, Heather Butts and Anthony Antonucci, Co-Founders of Health for Youths and WHSAD’s Health for Youths partners, accompanied students and staff on an informational trip to the United Nations. Thanks to the generosity of Stina Nystroem, President of the UNSRC Gardening Club and UN Food Gardens Initiative, our students gained insights into global food issues and living more sustainably in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our students also toured the United Nations complex and saw the general assembly, learning about why the UN is important, the various member states, and how the organization functions. Below, Senior Zeal Patel, provides a student’s perspective on the day.
On October 27, students from WHSAD along with teachers and Health for Youths staff members visited the United Nations Building for a private tour. We were so excited that we reached the U.N. an hour before our scheduled arrival, so we decided to walk around the building and enjoy the beauty of the building. Then it was time to take the tour of the building. As soon as we walked on the premises, the representative mentioned that we were no longer in the United States, as the building belongs to the United Nations’ countries, and I found that very fascinating. Then we made our way to the General Assembly building. The building has artwork and sculptures from all around the world. The most interesting of all was a sculpture that survived the nuclear attack in Japan; it was only 500 meters from the drop site. However, the highlight of the building was the General Assembly Hall. I have seen it in pictures but never imagined I would be able to see it in person. We learned how the meetings work and how each country has designated seats. The next room we visited was the Security Council Chamber, but, unfortunately, we were not able to go in as there was meeting in action.
The final place was the Food Garden. In the garden, the UN staff grows its own food and volunteers to maintain it. It was fascinating that they grow the plants in a raised bed system. Since we live in the city there is a high level of Arsenic and lead in the soil, which is harmful to the plants. Therefore, growing crops above ground level helps protect these plants from these chemicals.
The most shocking thing on the entire tour was a sculpture that represented the Atlantic Slave Trade. The sculpture has three components to it. The first component is a 3D carving depicting the scale of the trade. The second component is a life size human inside a triangle which shows the amount of space each person was allotted in the ship when he or she was being transported. The space is barely big enough to move around, and this was very shocking as the conditions were harsher than hell. The final component, Lest We Forget, is where we can honor the memory of millions of African souls that were lost.
To sum it up, it was an amazing opportunity and learning experience that would not have been possible if the school did not organize this trip.