Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School
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The Center for Global Studies (CGS), formerly known as the Center for Japanese Studies Abroad, is a magnet school within Brien McMahon High School, in Norwalk, Connecticut. Its primary purpose is to teach students the language, history, and literature of Japan and China. Starting in the 2006-2007 school year, the Center added Arabic and Middle East Studies to its curriculum. Each year students can participate in an exchange program from America to Japan, (to Kojo and Bunkyo High Schools, Gakuen China, and Egypt. In 2012 they did their first trip to Morocco and in 2014 a trip to Qutar. Each year, students from Japan, Egypt, China, and Qatar come over for a home stay in their American sister school.
In students' their first year of studying a language, they are required to take a social studies course to go along with the country that they are studying. After that, they are no longer required to take a social studies course within the center, although they can if they choose to do so. Students must take World Literature in the Center, which counts as an English class. Various texts are studied in World Literature, from various time periods, places, and translated from many different languages. Students are required to take World Literature and a language class all four years in high school to be in the Center.
There are currently about 302 students, the largest number ever. The school continues to grow every year. In 2005, the Center opened its new wing, which is a part of the rebuilding of Brien McMahon High School.
The students in the Center, sometimes known as "the Center Kids", or "Children of the Globe", are known for their eccentric dress and rather unhealthy obsession for everything Japanese. However, in the past several years, the stereotypical 'centerkid' has been slowly evolving. Rather than being known for their oddities, students are now known for their many center-specific activities, class pull-outs for in-school field trips, a comfortable atmosphere, decent teachers, and as a community of people where everyone can fit in somewhere. The students come from different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, and for the most part get along harmoniously. The Center and Brien McMahon High have become well known as some of the best places for LGBT high school students, due to a tolerant and supportive atmosphere.
The Center hosts several clubs which allow them to stand out from Brien McMahon High. The largest is their Anime club, which hosts 50 students (a sixth of the school's population). The club focuses on Japanese animation and comic books. Since the school's largest population is those taking Japanese, they send a group to Washington D.C. every year. In 2014 they sent a team to the National Japanese Speech competition and won many awards after a speech performed by student Karen Zhueng.
The program was previously known as the Center For Japanese Studies Abroad (CJSA), and dealt solely with Japanese studies. The school was set up and run by the late Dr. William Jassey who died on May 12, 2011.
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