Last fall we received an email message in response to our report on the summer 2015 Great Connections seminar. This email was about Derick Ansah, a spectacular student we had the pleasure of having with us last summer.
Derick Ansah, Great Connections class of 2015.
“Where I come from, people cannot even picture themselves doing what I’ve done this week.”
— Derick Ansah, Great Connections Seminar attendee
When Derick went back to school that fall, Great Connections Founder and President Marsha Familaro Enright received an email from Nawaphon Sittisawassakul at the SUNY/Purchase Economics Department. The kind of growth described in his email about Derick is exactly what we aim to provide for all students at The Great Connections Seminar. It’s a touching message that we wanted to share with you. Transformations like Derick’s make The Great Connections Seminar such a valuable and meaningful experience for young people today.
The update you sent me looked awesome. It’s very cool to see Derick Ansah go through all that along with your other students from around the world. To tell you the truth, when I met him again at the beginning of this fall semester, it was like meeting a completely new person.
Derick had changed mentally and spiritually so much in the short months of the summer break and I think it had to do hugely because of your program. He’s now more critical and analytical of works and ideologies while in the Econ classes lectures, talks, and seminars. His question-asking manner in class has also increased in acuity and form. It’s as if he grew 2 years worth of college prowess in your short 1 week course. A lot of college students don’t get enough of this critical thinking and these deep analytical skills taught to them at most colleges in America today, which is sad.
He tells me that you dream of making your one week summer course into a full time school one day, I hope that your dream happens because America needs more of this.
George S. Clason, successful businessman and author of The Richest Man in Babylon, once said “Our prosperity as a nation depends upon the personal financial prosperity of each of us as individuals…our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts. Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.” Benjamin Franklin also once said that with all our getting, get understanding.
I find that you’re at the forefront of helping our kids understand not just themselves better, but the world, and the inner working of humanity as a whole. This can and will translate itself deeper down the line into a stronger, more prosperous society.
Thank you for all that you do, Marsha!
During the seminar, Derick was a natural leader whose affable, inquisitive nature brought the Great Connections students together and helped tremendously to create an open and inviting environment. Throughout the week, it was evident that many of the ideas were new and challenging to him, and he worked hard to improve himself.
What was admirable in Derick was that he always aimed to understand things for himself and connect the ideas with other texts and activities throughout the week, especially drawing from his own life experience. His attitude of openness and his enthusiasm to learn and challenge himself encouraged others to push themselves outside of comfort their zones as well.
“I have gained more power. ”
— Derick Ansah
Not only are other’s noticing Derick’s growth in
intellectual prowess, he himself knows how he has grown.
The unique methodology of The Great Connections Seminar creates an environment where students can discover within themselves their own powers and abilities. This self-empowerment allows students like Derick to walk away with the confidence that they can be an active leader in their own learning and life.
If you know a young person or student aged 16 and up who could benefit from a transformative experience like Derick’s, please refer them to us via this online form.