Swimming with the Sharks

Global Studies students devise ways to tackle African issues.


What do you get when you place entrepreneurship, social problems and economics into a tank… with sharks? You get an STA “Shark Tank” Show!

On the 4th floor of St. Thomas Aquinas High School this week, there is something fishy going on.  Mrs. Jen Duprat’s freshmen Global Studies students are hard at work designing ways to solve international problems with innovative remedies.  Tasked with identifying a significant economic problem in Africa, the freshmen have been researching and developing plans that address their unique issue. In an attempt to solve Nigeria’s spiraling cycle of poverty, for example, one group of students considered the way in which many factors (the government’s social problems, history of poverty, economy, sewage epidemic, etc.) contribute to the issue. Through thorough research, brainstorming, and collaboration, the students prepared and presented “a resolution” to a team of investors (aka “Sharks” [aka STA staff members]).

Innovative ways of teaching are fish bait for adolescent minds wanting to know more, to do more. In a lesson that at first-glance appears to be a social studies lesson on regional issues, a deeper look reveals that these students are delving into the world of critical thinking. In so doing, they are increasing their processing skills and public speaking proficiency, all while perfecting their ability to appropriately respond to spontaneous inquiries.

Whether the topic is one of economic disparity or wildlife conservation, there is a brave new world dawning inside of Room 402- and it’s brilliant.