On an unusually warm and sunny afternoon in mid-October, Jeffrey Truax ’20 stands before his Composition and Rhetoric class in the Marr Academic Building. Truax has assumed the position of a social entrepreneur, and he is pitching his business model.
Truax is one of five students in Ms. Hollander’s class at The Winchendon School to deliver an elevator pitch — a brief, persuasive presentation that addresses a room of potential “investors” (played by Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Harrington, and Mrs. Catalano).
Composition and Rhetoric 2 is a supplementary course to Global Dynamics 2 that purposefully aims to further develop student ability in public speaking in writing. Students in Global Dynamics 2 are studying the political geography of Nigeria through Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart. Currently, students are examining the effects of imperial rule on Africa.
The Social Entrepreneurship project in Composition and Rhetoric 2 focused on effective communication. As social entrepreneur, students were required to create a business model that facilitates both revenue and social change.
Following his presentation, Truax receives questions from the audience of students and faculty. A long-time hallmark of a TWS education, daily class feedback from faculty encourages student growth, both in confidence and in intellect. Comments in hand, Jeff heads back to the drawing board to modify his business model in preparation for Monday’s class.
Rote memorization? Not exactly. While students learn the factual background of various countries and regions, our courses are cultural studies. They require an interdisciplinary approach that addresses literature, culture, politics, and economics. They require wonder, inquiry, and research. Our faculty work to discuss and address social situations in the global community; then, we challenge students to develop knowledge and to contemplate and create real-world solutions. Ms. Hollander remarks, “The aim of social entrepreneurship is to empower a community. Students begin with what they know, and assume the role of a social entrepreneur. This requires historical knowledge, economic research, and care. Using this method, students have an opportunity to form a connection with a foreign land and to facilitate real change.”