Mapping Out Our Mistakes
A few months ago, I attended the discernment dinner for immersion. This was the night that I was to find out where I would be traveling to, which social justice issue my trip would focus on, and which classmates would accompany me on this journey.
The group of faces, some more familiar and some newer, celebrated when we found out that we would be going to El Salvador for two weeks, with a focus on the aftermath of the Salvadoran civil war and the role of religion in the nation.
As I shared my excitement about the trip with other friends, common responses to the mention of El Salvador were, “Where is that?” or “Is that in Mexico?”
This recurring confusion regarding my immersion destination sparked a realization—the knowledge of geography lies lower on the list of priorities for some students. While I was lucky to have a geography program at my middle school and a passion for memorizing states, countries, and capitals, I learned that this is not always the case for most students.
Our generation is surrounded by news of novel discoveries, political reports, and moments of history in the making. It is crucial to have an understanding of geography in order to grasp and conceptualize the news that we hear about, on a local, national, and international scale.
Matt Blake '24 agrees, saying, “If you don’t know where you are relative to other places that might show up on the news, then you don’t fully understand the world around you.”
For the SI classes that choose to put an emphasis on geography, this incorporation has proven to be very educational and beneficial.
“Last year, in Modern World History class, each student had to quiz their geography skills using an app called ‘World Maps,’ which introduced a lot of geography to my peers," Isabella Kelly '24 recounted. “I was appalled at the amount of times that someone said, ‘Oh, that’s where that country is!’”
Learning the layout of our world is essential to attain a three-dimensional understanding of history, social justice, and current events—maybe we should finally address our shortcomings and create a Geography class elective at St. Ignatius!
Addie Vida '24 is a Vol. 71 Contributing Editor