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Reimagined Upper School SPARC Day Ignites Action

On October 11, Bolles upper school students participated in SPARC Day – a non-class day dedicated to Seeking opportunities, Preparing for the future, Acting local, Reaching global and Connecting communities.

SPARC Day is a reimagined version of Make a Difference Day (MADD) held during previous school years. Bolles administration decided to refresh the programming and name to better reflect the variety of projects and goals each group of students pursues during the day of action.

Seniors worked with the College Counseling team to prepare for the future and seek opportunities through workshops focusing on various aspects of the college admissions process. Juniors also reached toward these goals by taking the PSAT in the morning.

The Class of 2026 focused specifically on connecting communities through a series of activities organized by Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Twyla Ashman. The sophomores attended a keynote speaker session from Leonard Chatman Jr. to kick off the day in McGehee Auditorium with the theme Better Together: Building Community, Respect, Gratitude & Belonging, followed by a workshop presented by OneJax. Students and faculty then gathered in break-out groups to take part in activities focused on building community and belonging. The day promoted kindness and respect for others and incorporated a combination of self-reflection, group activities and healthy communication.

Freshmen began their SPARC activities on October 10, with a dynamic convocation led by Global Learning and Engagement Director Natalia Aycart that introduced them to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how to develop a mindset of acting local and reaching global. The Bolles Student Global Connections Committee/2022-23 Global Entrepreneurship Cohort assisted in the presentation by sharing their Research Process experience while developing Heartbeat in a Box last year. These Bulldogs shared how they used their skills and passions to solve a real-world problem based on the SDGs.

The October 11 school day began with the Class of 2027 arriving as usual on the Upper School San Jose Campus, where they gathered as a class for a community service overview and an explanation of the day in McGehee Auditorium. The students then separated into advisor groups and headed out into the Jacksonville community to participate in one of several volunteer opportunities. View pictures of their volunteer work in our online photo gallery here.

In the afternoon, the freshmen explored the global meaning of service, looking at the topic through the lens of the SDGs. The students rotated through the following stations: a reflection exercise led by English teacher Steven Stam 00 and math teacher Laura Dostert, a presentation from social studies teachers Sean O’Neill and Jeff Yeakel and instructional technology specialist Gloria Wood, a cyanotype print activity with fine arts teachers Christopher Hicks and Lily Kuonen, and a scavenger hunt in Ulmer Hall and Schultz Hall that challenged the students to put their SDG knowledge to the test. View pictures of the freshmen’s SPARC activities in our online photo gallery here.