Shaler Area grad named 2019 Global Scholar

Tuesday, July 2, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Kayleigh Hegerle, a 2019 Shaler Area graduate, was the district’s first student to receive Global Scholar distinction through the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association program.

The administration recognized her at a June 19 school board meeting, and the district provided her with a special cord to wear at her commencement.

The Global Scholars Program facilitates high school students’ development of global awareness and competency through the completion of interdisciplinary studies and activities. Over four years, students complete requirements in four components: academic courses, including four years or the equivalent of the same language and an additional four credits of study with a global emphasis; active participation in four extracurricular activities focusing on global aspects; 20 community-service hours with a global focus; and eight 400-word literature or media reviews.

Hegerle, 18, plans to attend Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., majoring in history and museum studies and minoring in French.

“Going into freshman year, the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) initiative was taking off, but as someone who’s not particularly geared toward science and mathematics — I’m more of a humanities person and language — having a program that was also specifically for those things was really nice and a way to focus my studies towards my major,” she said of the program.

Beth Marsiglio, Shaler Area French teacher and Global Scholars Program sponsor, suggested that Shaler Area adopt it last winter.

“I think it’s a very good skill for our students to have today with changes in transportation and communication with the internet, things have become globalized very quickly. And I think that being able to interact with people from other cultures is a really important skill that businesses are already starting to look for,” she said.

Hegerle met the program criteria by taking AP European History, World History, Honors World Literature, AP English Literature, four years of French, The History of the Holocaust and Modern Global Conflicts. She participated in the History Club and French Honor Society, volunteered during the school’s Holocaust remembrance and education event, took a field trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and completed independent media studies.

A highlight was her three-week immersive trip to France, which counted toward the program.

“I’m a big history buff, so being able to go over to Europe — we went around to the different museums like the Louvre — was really amazing to me. Just being able to experience another culture is sort of a life-changing thing,” Hegerle of Shaler said.

Furthermore, she said she is inspired by the LIGHT – leadership, innovation, genocide, human rights, teaching – Education Initiative, founded by her former teacher Nick Haberman.

“My thing with history is sort of, we need to learn from our past to build a better future. … That’s what it’s all about, spreading education of things like the Holocaust, so that we can learn from it and not repeat our own history and making sure that (studying) that becomes mandatory in schools.”

Hegerle and the approximately 25 students in the school’s Global Scholars Program fundraised for Heifer International, a nonprofit working to eradicate poverty by providing livestock to communities in need worldwide, through a raffle for French crepes.

“Kayleigh was key to the success of that, she did a lot to get it moving,” Marsiglio said of the group’s first service project.

At the school board meeting, Superintendent Sean Aiken referred to Hegerle as a “trailblazer” and invited her to speak with current students regarding the program.

“We want our students to have this global competence. I hope that this is kind of the trigger to help other students realize that they can do this, too. You kind of have this experience and exposure to world cultures and just having that understanding, global understanding, I think is so important,” he said.