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Red Mountain High School hosted international journalists as part of Global Ties Arizona

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International investigative journalists visit Jan Saquella's Roar magazine and Pinnacle yearbook students at Red Mountain High School on Feb. 16. (Tim Hacker/Mesa Public Schools)

Mesa’s Red Mountain High School Roar magazine and Pinnacle yearbook students recently hosted 21 international investigative journalists, three international visitors’ liaisons and two state department officers as part of a program with Global Ties Arizona, a council for international exchange.

The International Visitor Leadership Program is the U.S Department of State’s premier diplomatic exchange. The international visitors were described as “The UN of Investigative Journalists,” and represented countries from around the world on Feb. 16. Their goal was to gain a deeper understanding of other cultures, political systems and people.

The visitors shared information with the students about their respective countries and experiences as journalists, learned about the journalistic writing skill-building programs the school offers and heard about the schools 2015 Arizona Interscholastic Press Association’s awards. Red Mountain High School was the only high school the international investigative journalists visited while in the United States.

“I felt honored to meet with people who have dedicated their lives to uncovering the truth. They love what they do, and to have them interested in what we do…It just blows me away,” senior and Roar Editor-in-Chief Paul Stanton said. “They encouraged me to push myself harder. When I told them about things I want to do, they didn’t just nod and smile, they told me to go out and do it. That’s the mindset I will take from this experience. I have never met a group of more dedicated individuals.”

These relationships are often life-altering. Through these interactions, both personal and professional, U.S. Citizens take part in Citizen Diplomacy—One Handshake at a Time, becoming part of the U.S. Department of State foreign policy efforts.

“As I stood in the room, I thought how lucky these students are because connecting them to experts for an authentic experience empowers them like no textbook can,” said Lisa Creaser, assistant principal of student services.

– English teacher Jan Lemon-Saquella is Red Mountain High School Roar magazine and Pinnacle yearbook advisor.

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