For a second year in a row, a Charlottesville High School student has earned a highly competitive travel fellowship in China through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, the program serves to develop knowledge of languages and cultures that are critical to our national security and foreign relations. Junior Lucas Higgins is this year’s honoree.
In the past three years alone, six other Charlottesville students and teachers have earned U.S. State Department travel fellowships.This summer, Spanish teacher Carolyn Evans will travel with a U.S. Department of Education program.
Junior Lucas Higgins will travel to China this summer with NSLI-Y. He is the founder of the CHS Student Investment Group, which has raised an endowment of more than $25,000, awarded its first grant of $1,000 to the local nonprofit City Schoolyard Garden, and placed 4th worldwide in a competition last year sponsored by the Wharton Business School. He plays soccer on CHS’s 11-0 boys’ team, serves on the Charlottesville Youth Council. and is presently enrolled in Chinese 3 Honors at CHS.
NSLI-Y is part of a U.S. government initiative that prepares American citizens to be leaders in a global world. The program offers intensive language instruction plus community service and a stay with a host family.
Charlottesville City Schools has an unusually strong record of students and teachers participating in State Department-sponsored programs. Last year, Santiago Padron (now a senior at CHS) was selected for the same NSLI-Y program in China. In the last two years, three other CHS students — Fré Halvorson-Taylor, Matthew Robinson, and Elsa Schenck — earned year-long fellowships with the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad (YES Abroad) program.
Other recent CHS and CCS awardees include then-CHS student Emily Bambury, CHS Spanish teacher Karen Nelson, and Buford ESL teacher Renata Germino, all of whom studied in South America with State Department programs in 2015-2016.
This summer, Spanish teacher Carolyn Evans will travel with the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the selective program will take just twelve K-12 educators to Ecuador and Peru for four weeks.