Students for a change

Central International shows students can make a difference globally as well as in their community.

Gillian Pendel

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March 16, 2018

Unless you have actually been living under a rock since August, you have probably seen or at least heard of Central International. What started out as a French Club, quickly grew into one of the most popular and widely recognized clubs here at school. Julie Nelgner, senior co-founder of Central International, explained her surprise at the success of the club.


“I definitely did not [expect it to get this popular], I think especially in the first year we started it,” Nelgner said. “This year we have a secure recurring amount coming of around 20 people … And it’s a morning club now … so it’s great because they’re coming out in the morning [every week].”


Nelgner, as well as sponsors Caitlin Crain and Amy Roznos, explained that the focus for Central International this year will be on a global scale as well as local. This year they have partnered with organizations such as the St. Louis International Institute for their local projects and ME to WE for a more global focus. One of their future projects through ME to WE is “the goat that gives back.”


“Basically you collect change, and for $50 worth of change you can buy a goat for a family in Kenya,” Mrs. Roznos, a French teacher, said. “It’s kind of the gift that keeps on giving because they can use it for milk and cheese and things like that.”


One of their local ongoing projects they started this year is the CIPositivity hashtag on Twitter.


“The inspiration behind it was it takes 21 days to create a habit, so we wanted to start spreading positivity on social media,” Mrs. Crain, a Spanish teacher at FHC, said. “And that’s kind of developed this hashtag, CIPositivity, where we would have opportunity to share positive things on social media.”


When the project was first introduced, there were some understandable initial concerns with the idea of using a hashtag on Twitter.


“It was kind of weird because it wasn’t really something we talked about,” Nelgner said. “My only concern at first was that people weren’t going to do it because that’s a lot of commitment … I know most of our officers are doing it, and I think some of the members are doing it.”


Despite these concerns, the overall response to the hashtag has been overwhelmingly positive. Senior Abigail Green believes it has had a strong impact on the students of FHC.


“It’s awesome because it brings attention to things we may not think about or be grateful for,” Green said. “It shows how great Central International is and expresses the excitement/passion for positivity in our community and the world.”


To find out more about being a force for good and changing the world, check out a Central International meeting on Wednesday mornings in Room 237 or Room 238.