Just before Thanksgiving Break, upper-school students sat next to their peers in the middle and lower schools, leaving many students across Haverford confused. It was part of an effort by Director of Global Studies Mr. Andrew Poolman, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ms. Rhonda Brown, and more, to help bridge students across different branches of the school, all through the World Cup.
For the first time since 2014, the United States of America qualified for the World Cup, bringing both teachers and students together to cheer for the United States, discuss matches and rivalries, and debate questionable calls by the referees.
Hoping to take advantage of the infrequent occasion, Mr. Andrew Poolman believes the World Cup competition will build relationships across the school for years to come.
“The main goal was to promote cross-cultural understanding: understanding of the world, different countries, and cultures. The World Cup is such an amazing event that highlights so many countries and cultures,” Mr. Poolman said.
Middle schoolers met with lower schoolers and designed a flag for their country together. Upper schoolers will also interact with other members of the community to create a jersey, accomplishing the second goal of the project.
“The second goal is to promote the interaction between divisions. It is a good opportunity to bring students together that may have never talked before and have fun together,” Mr. Poolman said.
The project has been a long time in the making. Starting at the end of last spring, Mr. Poolman, Ms. Brown, and others met to discuss the idea of the World Cup. From there, it blossomed into an inter-divisional, cross-cultural project with goals far beyond the soccer field.
Although the World Cup is ending soon, Ms. Brown and Mr. Poolman hope that students will gain something that lasts.
“It’s a good time to think about community and empathy and other cultures. I think oftentimes we are a school of almost a thousand students that have little interaction beyond our groups,” Mr. Poolman said. “Having fun with members of the community, learning about countries and cultures across the world, really makes for a positive change to community life.”