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High Resolves launches at Ransom Everglades

Mehrdad Baghai, the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of High Resolves, watched a one-minute video on social exclusion assembled by high school students. He had seen the video dozens of times. Yet as Baghai shared it during his visit to Ransom Everglades on Oct. 31, he teared up – as did members of the RE administration that gathered around his laptop.
The powerful video was produced by students at the conclusion of their educational immersion in High Resolves, a leadership and citizenship program that launched this month at Ransom Everglades. The Videos for Change, the culminating project in the curriculum, address student-devised topics ranging from domestic violence to cyber-bullying to anxiety.

The videos vividly illustrate the power of High Resolves, a program that begins with “Peak Experiences” designed to spark a desire to act in society’s collective interest.

RE’s ninth graders gathered for their Peak Experience on PSAT day Oct. 16, tackling the issue of a Just Society. Tenth graders met on Oct. 21 for their Peak Experience, which dealt with Social Progress. Juniors delved into Better Self on Oct. 28, and RE’s eighth graders will undertake Identity and Purpose on Nov. 14.

Baghai was joined at RE by Josh Denson, Chief Executive Officer of High Resolves North America, and Danitra Wansley, a High Resolves Program Manager. The team visited to get further acquainted with Ransom Everglades, a flagship school for High Resolves and its first in Florida.

The trio met with RE Head of School Penny Townsend and the rest of the administration, class and campus deans and members of the Ransom Everglades Parents’ Association.

High Resolves, which describes itself as a “non-profit, non-partisan, non-religious education initiative which designs and delivers award-winning citizenship and leadership learning experiences,” is active at schools in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and New Zealand. Find a High Resolves executive summary here, and a one-page information sheet here.

Baghai, who co-founded High Resolves with his wife in 2005, was recently honored by The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship as Social Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2018, he won the McNulty Prize, which recognizes individuals taking on the foremost social and other issues of our time.

Kevin Lewis, High Resolves Program Manager/Facilitator, helped Wansley facilitate the Peak Experiences at RE; the pair will return for the middle school session and then supply RE’s advisors with a road map that will lead students through the school year. RE students will engage in repeated practice designed to cement the lessons learned during the Peak Experiences.

At the conclusion of the year, they will work in groups to assemble their own videos.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.