East Meck honored as first Global ready school in North Carolina


Photo courtesy of CMS.

Story by Hanna Wondmagegn, Managing Editor

Members of the North Carolina State Board pose with the East Meck students and staff, as shown (left to right): Debra Semmler, Barbara Castro, Heather Lajoie, Hanna Wondmagegn, Simon Gordon, Miranda Hobbs, Miracle Okoro, Ecab Amor, Sara Holley,Rick Parker


It’s one thing to say you’re a global school, it’s another to have an award to prove it.


  East Meck was recognized officially as the first high school in North Carolina to be designated as a Global-Ready School at the State Board of Education meeting.  

  Principal Rick Parker accepted the award on behalf of East Meck at the Nov. 3  meeting along with International Baccalaureate (IB) coordinator Heather Lajoie and physics teacher Debra Semmler. Seniors Miranda Hobbs, Ecab Amor, Sara Holley, Barbara Castro and Hanna Wondmagegn. Juniors Miracle Okoro,Simon Gordon and Andy Fialko also accompanied the group.


  “[East Meck] is ready to do bigger and better things,” Castro said. “That shows how we are really a global ready school.”


  Castro was one of the students who participated in the North Carolina Department of Instruction (NCDPI) evaluation of East Meck. NCDPI officials visited East Meck in September to evaluate if the school displayed global readiness. Officials met with students, teachers, community partners, and parents and visited various classrooms all within a three-hour period.


Senior Sara Holley had the chance to sit and talk with the officials as well as lead them on a tour, giving her the opportunity to show off her school.


  “I feel privileged to attend a global-ready school,” Holley said. “Not everyone gets to walk into class every day and experience diverse perspectives from diverse students.”


  Shortly after the visit, NCDPI officials met together and announced their final decisions, designating East Meck as a Global-Ready School at the “prepared” level.


  “There’s prepared level and there’s model level, and model is really meant to be like you’ve been doing this for several years and you’ve refined your practice,” said International Baccalaureate (IB) coordinator Heather Lajoie


  Carolina First International Elementary in Onslow County School system was recognized at the meeting as the first school to achieve the model level. Piedmont IB Middle School was the first school in CMS to be designated as a Global-Ready School in 2015 and East Meck now follows as the first high school in North Carolina.


  For many East Meck students, the opportunity to meet students from different countries and learn about global issues is an everyday occurrence.  

“One of the things [NCDPI officials]  said in the aftermath [was] that for you [students], you’ve been so immersed in the atmosphere of the school and how global the school is that it never occurred to you to notice it,” Lajoie said. “It was more like it was life for us, this is everyday. That made me feel so good because I hadn’t seen it from that perspective.”


Although East Meck is just now being recognized for their efforts to prepare students globally, for Lajoie, Castro and Holley, the title is just an assertion on what they already knew about East Meck.

“It’s an affirmation that [what] we were doing with the Global Immersion Steering Team – that we were trying to get the school more immersed in global issues – has been, at least partly successful,” Lajoie said. “Can we do better? Sure. It’s really just a recognition of what our teachers and students are doing.”