CPS students observe 'Europe Day' ahead of NATO summit

May 9, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Consul generals from European nations visited several schools to help students gain a more global view of the events that shape the world.

The jazz band at Lakeview High School learned the anthem for the European Union in honor of a visiting dignitary. Some Chicago Public Schools are celebrating Europe Day. At Lakeview, their guest is the Consul General of France, who shared a bit of history about the European Union, NATO and a glimpse at current issues particularly with a newly elected president of France.

"There's a lot of excitement because there will be a couple of changes in the government in style, so we are just waiting for the new government to be appointed," said Graham Paul, Consul General of France.

Lakeview's French Club sponsored the visit.

Some students have already traveled to France and other countries.

"Everyone influences each other, and we also need diversity and understanding of each other's background for political and economic reasons as well," said Lakeview student Kimverli Halili.

"It makes them more aware of other cultures outside of what we have in the school, and I think it promotes better understanding," said Lakeview's Donna Chen.

At Taft High School, on the Northwest Side, Spain was the focus. Spain's Consul General visited with students taking French and Spanish. She gave the students a European perspective and encouraged them to continue their language studies and to travel.

"That's what I would like to see coming for the next generation, to travel more, to be more interested, more curious in the outside world, because it's really worthwhile," said Carmen Fontes, Consul General of Spain.

Some students were already interested in foreign affairs. Meeting a foreign diplomat in person only heightened that interest.

"I really want to go to Europe in general to see all of the beautiful interior designs and all that," said Taft student Pansy Nguyen.

"Whatever else happens in the world can in the end affect us, or we can make allies in the world. It could affect all of our careers or impact us in the future," said Taft student Narciso Perez.

This is the second CPS Europe Day. With the NATO summit only a few days away, these visits were another opportunity to include young people in the activities surrounding the summit.

Fourteen schools had visits from consuls general.

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