Pictured left to right: Iya, Syarif, Fawz, Charlie, Rezi, Dasha, Maddy, Molly, Alicia, Amaziah, Kwaya, Finn and Manu

By Jineane Eason, Senior Manager, Donor Engagement & Gift Planning

In May, students from the Climate Action Leadership Diploma (CALD) program welcomed guests, teachers, and supporters to campus for its first Celebration of Learning, which celebrated key milestones, from the program’s vision and planning to the success of its first trail-blazing cohort of student graduates. 

Led by former Pearson College faculty member Marija Uzunova Dang and former Head of College Craig Davis, the vision of developing a holistic curriculum to address climate change at the secondary level started to take shape and form in 2021. After extensive feedback, collaboration, and consultation with many partners, the first cohort of CALD students arrived on campus in 2022. 

Fourteen students, with varying levels of experience, knowledge, and interest, came together to spend half of their academic journey at Pearson together, jumping feet first into an innovative, alternative, and new program. These same students have left with the knowledge, skills, and leadership attributes needed to approach and tackle complex problems like climate change. 

Our first graduates are currently exploring a variety of avenues from internship offers in London to gap year jobs in Yukon, and even an invitation to spend a year at CLI Dance Conservatory – to artistically explore the connection to nature, climate, and movement – before continuing onto academic studies at several post-secondary institutions around the world. 

The impressive list of university offers made to our first graduating CALD cohort not only celebrates the promise and potential of our students but also externally affirms the calibre of the CALD program and the willingness of universities to see its value. Climate action education at the secondary level can be a viable pathway towards post-secondary and beyond. 

At the end of its second year, the program has doubled in size, growing to two cohorts with 27 students from 22 nations including six students from Canada, four of whom are Indigenous. Together, we congratulate our first graduates and look forward to welcoming our third cohort in August. 

The creation of the Climate Action Leadership Diploma program would not have been possible without the visionary support of our donor community. Thanks to the ongoing support of our alumni, parents, funding partners and supporters, Pearson College continues to be at the forefront of educational innovation to address the world’s most pressing issues. 

Read 📖 the CALD Impact Report here

Watch 👀🤳 CALD student graduates – Maddy Mead (Y49), Escarlin Mora Sosa (Y50), & Alicia Yang (Y49) – speak about what CALD means to them at the end of year celebration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ETHGRzQyuE  

Listen 🎧 to students Valentina Constancio and recent graduate Alicia Yang along with Director Emily Coolidge who talk about how the CALD program shapes the next generation of climate leaders in this unique “Someone Like You” podcast episode: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6FPggObKFabEVDR8S5MQkY  

“I can apply what we learned in CALD to make environmentally conscious choices, such as reducing energy consumption, supporting sustainable growth, adopting eco-friendly practices, and staying informed about environmental impacts, policies, and other initiatives, at the same time, advocating for positive changes in my home community.” – Kwaya Bluesky (Y49, British Columbia) 

“The CALD program changed my way of thinking about how we think about the relationship of ourselves, our society, and the environment. Because we learn how to dissect and interact with complex systems, I have no doubt that the experience and learning CALD would help me create the change I want in any field I want to pursue.” – Iya Ben (Y49, Philippines)