Edwin Gil dreams of returning to his home country, the Dominican Republic, to build a school. While he was a student at the Henry Street School for International Studies in New York City, he took his first steps toward his dream by reimagining his own school. Edwin wanted students at Henry Street to believe in their dreams and to believe in themselves. So he launched a tour in the building’s middle school to spread the power of dreaming and belief. He went to middle school classes and talked to dozens of students, reaching nearly every middle schooler, and started a new conversation about possibility in the school.

Since graduating, Edwin has continued to work in service of developing others. He currently works at a non-profit, The Henry Street Settlement, serving as an after-schools activity coordinator. In this role, Edwin helps students from his neighborhood complete their homework and build their knowledge through tutoring and immersive activities. He has far from given up on his dream of building a school—in fact, he is developing an organization called “Nation of Dreamers” to build a whole network of schools and programs in the Caribbean. Edwin and his team have been exploring how to improve the student experience by integrating best practices from the Finnish education system and other transformative school systems worldwide.

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