In 1929, the Rockefeller and Forstall families helped orchestrate the very first iteration of the Ecolint Scholarship Programme when they funded the studies of fifteen scholars from countries such as Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Albania and Bulgaria. Since then, the school has, on multiple occasions, provided a haven for young refugees who have overcome incredible hardships with exceptional perseverance, grace and wisdom.
For these students, their acceptance to Ecolint is an auspicious first step towards realising their dreams, but it is not a golden ticket. The realities of the distance from family, their significant academic gaps and their heavier than average mental and emotional loads represent challenges they must, once again, navigate. Thankfully, the international nature of the school and its expertise in crafting tailored academic programmes are a major boon for their integration. Ecolint’s five most recent scholars, who joined our two Geneva campuses in 2019 thanks to a partnership with the Hospice général de Genève, embody the magic and success of Ecolint’s model of student-centred education that is informed by cultural context. Below, in their own words, two of the students describe what the scholarship has meant to them:
The scholarship has taken my life to another level. My stress and anxiety related to the process of learning have gone, and instead I am more curious, have questions to ask and have learning support from the teachers. I have also become more self-confident, feel good both in body and spirit, and live my life much more positively. These scholarships embody the best way of giving a chance to people like me to find their destiny
A.S. (LGB, 2022)
After finishing my studies as a scholar, I began to work as an apprentice with the Development and Alumni Relations Department of Ecolint. What I like most about working here is the fact that everyone is amazing, friendly, supportive and positive. It just makes me feel comfortable! This is my first job, so everything I am learning is new to me. What is important is that I learn from any mistakes I make and try to make the best of them. That way, I am ready for any difficulties I might face in the future.
S.A. (Nations 2021)
The integration of our scholars is of paramount importance to our teaching and para-pedagogical teams. This topic is one of the main points of discussion of the Ecolint Scholarship Planning Committee, which started to convene more frequently in the autumn of 2021 to plan for a potential expansion of the Programme in 2023.
The Committee is chaired by Alexandra Conchard, Assistant Principal of the Secondary School at La Châtaigneraie. It is composed of twelve highly involved teachers, three engaged administrative staff members and one very motivated board member. Alexandra says that “working on this project with another 16 members of the Foundation has been inspiring. Meeting with and hearing from current and former scholars from Ecolint and other international schools definitely shaped our conversations.”
The Committee discussed new ideas and initiatives on several fronts, such as deepening our support of parents of scholars, and establishing partnerships within the canton of Vaud in the hope of bringing scholars to La Châtaigneraie (thus making the Programme truly Foundation-wide). After many hours of “fruitful debates,” according to Ms. Conchard, the Committee is now ready to draft and present a new proposal for the Programme’s framework that will ensure a success story for all our future scholars.
If you would like to support the work of the Committee and the expansion of the Scholarship Programme, you can make a contribution via our online giving form or the Ecolint American Foundation donation form.