Skip To Main Content
the bolles school
Bulldogs Travel to New York for Global Entrepreneurship Challenge
gle logo


The Bolles School’s Global Learning and Engagement program is steadily growing and providing more opportunities for students to pursue All Things Possible on an international level. 

This fall, the program launched the Student Global Connections Committee, which invites students on the Upper School San Jose Campus to take on roles focused on global leadership. The committee is led by Bolles Director of Global Learning and Engagement Natalia Aycart, who said she is excited to see these teens tap into the rich cultural heritage of the School’s diverse student body.

“The ultimate goal of the Global Learning and Engagement program is to offer students a broader perspective of the world and provide tangible opportunities for them to make connections with each other and their peers across the globe,” she said. “The Student Global Connections Committee is a group of passionate, like-minded students who are prepared to not only think outside of the box – but to also think outside of our borders.”

Six Bulldogs on the new committee were chosen to participate in the 2022-23 Global Entrepreneurship Challenge, an initiative that invites students from select international schools to solve the world’s largest problems.

Hosted by Scarsdale High School’s Design Lab and STEAM program in New York, the challenge asked students to solve real-world problems based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Although these problems are complex and global, students looked for local problems related to the SDGs and learned how to find solutions that are scalable.

The following Bulldogs represented Bolles: Sarah Park ’25, Ava Cheng ’25, Anaiya Nahar ’25, Jaden Taher ’25, Esha Kasavaraju ’26 and Abby Bradley ’25. In addition to Bolles, the following schools participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge:

Educandato Uccellis Collegio (Udine, Italy)
The Chinese International School (Hong Kong, China)
The Binus School (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Austin Eco Bilingual School (Campana, Argentina)
St. Paul's School (Concord, New Hampshire)
The Ursuline School (New Rochelle, New York)
St. Stephens and St. Agnes School (Alexandria, Virginia)
The Trevor Day School (New York, NY)
Robert College (Istanbul, Turkey)

Throughout the process, students met via Zoom to discuss the problems that they were tackling and exchanged local perspectives and cultural norms with their peers from around the world. Once student teams identified their potential solutions, they presented short pitches to UN experts to get feedback and obtain potential connections before the final submission.

In the School’s first year competing, the Bolles team was selected for the final round, resulting in an invitation to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge pitch event on April 28 in New York. The group presented their project, “Heartbeat in a Box,” a sustainable and accessible kit for the homeless population.

Nahar and Park said the kit included sustainable materials the students developed specific to regional climates, a pamphlet translated into various languages with information about common ailments and local hotline numbers as well as an Odyssey board microcontroller with an LED light system and alarm system they created and programmed with guidance from Bolles upper school teacher Gloria Wood.

The students reached out to several experts locally, nationally and globally, receiving valuable feedback in multiple components of their project. This feedback inspired them to develop Heartbeat in a Box as an adaptable tool to reach different regions across the world and help the homeless population on a wider scale. Click here to watch the students' presentation. 

“I think we started off the project without fully knowing what we were getting into, but over the course of around the six months we spent working on it, we learned how to collaborate as a team to create something we were all very passionate about,” said Cheng. “We were able to look at some issues that mattered to us and create something new to help.”

The Bulldogs flew to New York City and took a train to Scarsdale High School to present Heartbeat in a Box to a panel of experts and international students at the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge event. Taher and Kasavaraju said they also had the opportunity to listen to product ideas from students all over the world, ranging from an upcycling clothing drive in Argentina to an app to foster safety in Indonesia.

The students remarked that this experience gave them insight into more global problems and how other teenagers are trying to combat them.

“We were able to meet students from around the world with two common interests: global learning and entrepreneurship,” Bradley said. “Through this program, not only did I make friends, but I was also exposed to a wide perspective of innovative ways to change the world.”

After the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge pitch event, the Bulldogs toured the United Nations, exploring the Security Council, Economic and Social Council Chamber, Trusteeship Council – and, of course, the General Assembly, where cooperation is most famously found.

Bradley noted that this visit was one of the most exciting parts of the group’s trip to New York.

“After spending much time discussing and creating a project in support the UN’s sustainable development goals, it was mind blowing to see and learn about the place where they are made,” she said.

The upper school students returned to Jacksonville inspired to continue their work and make a difference on a global level. We are proud of their passion and dedication and look forward to watching them develop into impactful leaders both at Bolles and across the world!

Click here to learn more about the Bolles Global Learning and Engagement program.