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  • Meredith Shaw

Sharing a Global Gift: Anish Deshpande Recognized as a Youth Asset Builder

Tri-Town Council is happy to share that Anish Deshpande of Middleton, a class of 2023 Masco Grad, received Tri-Town Council’s Youth Asset Builder Award and $500 scholarship. Anish was nominated for this award by Tri-Town Council staff for his efforts hosting virtual "Walking Globe" geography classes for Tri-Town children.

The world has always fascinated Anish. Since he was a small child, when traveling with his parents, maps, cities and the flight arrival and departure boards at the airport captivated his interest, leading him to develop a life long passion for learning about the earth, its systems, settlements, and topography.

Anish's curiosity led to an encyclopedic knowledge of the globe, and he became a Geography Bee Champion in 2019. Winning this honor motivated him to share his interest and learning with others. As a Masco freshman, Anish partnered with Tri-Town Council (TTC) to offer Geo Bee classes he called “The Walking Globe” for elementary youth at TTC’s program space in Topsfield. Just as he was getting ready to hold his first class, Covid 19 emerged and the world shut down. Not to be deterred, Anish, with the support of his parents and TTC’s Horizons Coordinator Beth Whalley, decided to offer the classes online via Zoom. Using games, quizzes, visuals, animations, and his fun loving spirit, Anish guided participants in learning about their global home from their homes. His classes were thoughtfully planned and well done, becoming so popular that he ended up offering several more sessions throughout his high school years.

As Anish continued offering the classes and guided the students deeper into their geographic learning, it required that he customize all of the learning materials. He would spend hours preparing and researching the class slideshows and quizzes, all while balancing his own studies and family responsibilities. Coming up with new material each week was a challenge he was ready to tackle, and led to him expanding his own knowledge of geography. “I learned a lot teaching the classes too. There is a whole other realm of sub-subjects that are not covered in GeoBees that I learned.” His efforts paid off! One 4th grade participant shared, “I liked learning about the countries and states - it was very interesting, and it helped me learn all my states and capitals.” And another paid Anish the ultimate compliment, “Anish is super experienced and one of the best teachers!” Beth Whalley, who coordinated and supported Anish’s efforts to bring his passion for geography to children in the community through TTC said, “Anish is a true leader. I was inspired by his humility, discipline, flexibility and willingness to build upon his unique skills and strengths.”

Reflecting on the experience of teaching the virtual "Walking Globe" classes, Anish is carrying with him many lessons. He was touched to see, once his students started to learn about geography, “how much they cared, learned, and the effort they were putting in. It was very rewarding.” In the teacher role, Anish garnered some valuable insight on the teaching process and how gratifying it can be. “It helped me understand the perspective of a teacher and that they are there to help you become the best person you can be.” He saw his comfort with public speaking grow along with his confidence in himself. Being responsible for teaching weekly classes also helped him strengthen his planning and time management skills too.

As Anish readies himself to take the next steps in his academic career, he is pondering the meaning of his whole experience of building upon and sharing his passion for geography. For him, being a GeoBee champion, having had the privilege of traveling to Germany to be in the company of other world class geographers, was a great adventure and honor, and one that he is grateful for. As he considers what it took to get there and what his knowledge enabled him to share, Anish reflects, “it was more rewarding and awesome for me to get other people interested in geography. Hopefully they could end up teaching Walking Globe Classes! Knowing I could pass on my passions felt better than winning.”

Anish plans on attending NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering next year to pursue studies in engineering and is considering a focus in civil, electrical or computer engineering. We wish you all the best Anish! Thank you for sharing your passion for the world with the world!

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