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Kristina Drye & Ella Hill Present at World View Symposium

On Wednesday, October 20, 2010, Kristina Drye and Ella Hill presented at the annual K-12 World View Symposium at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Kristina is a senior and Ella is a sophomore. Here they presented their program entitled, “Demystifying Cultural Boundaries, One Penny at a Time.”

The World View Symposium is geared toward giving educators from around the state an opportunity to see guest speakers and interact with new ways in which to enforce globalization to their students and school communities. One new aspect of the Symposium this year were many segments in which students themselves taught the participants about ways in which globalization could be implemented in the classroom. This is where Kristina and Ella enter into the equation.

“I was given the application by my mother, who attended the Symposium last year. It was an opportunity I could not pass up, so I decided to ask Ella and apply. When our program was accepted I was overjoyed,” Kristina tells us. She had recently read the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and was inspired by the way that Mr. Mortenson was building schools for the underprivileged in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Kristina explains, “This guy climbed a mountain and failed, stumbling, impoverished, into a small village called Korphe. In return for the villagers kindness he promises to build Korphe a school- at which point he returns to the U. S. and sells everything he has in order to fulfill his promise. Since then, he has built hundreds of schools and built public utilities for other such villages.” Ella adds, “it was all very inspiring to read about.”

After they were accepted, Ella and Kristina spent weeks preparing the presentation. They called their presentation, “Demystifying Cultural Boundaries, One Penny at a Time.” This presentation was centered on not only telling Mr. Mortenson’s story, but also teaching the presentation audience about the fundraiser that accompanies Mr. Mortenson’s books. Dubbed “Pennies for Peace,” it raises money in the form of spare change and builds schools with the funds. Ella explains, “What is really cool about the program is that it has curriculum to go along with the fundraiser, so it is a learning experience all around.” Kristina adds, “This means that we are not simply asking kids for their money, but we are having them connect on a very hands-on level. They realize that yes; there is a place that does not have the opportunities we have. But yes, we can help them. It helps them realize that they can make a difference.”

Because the program was geared toward spreading the word through Web 2.0 tools (a common term for interactive educational technology), Kristina and Ella created a blog to document their journey (http://penniesforpeacejourney.wordpress.com/) as well as having the actual audience use what is known as a “phone poll” and Glogster technology. Overall, the program was a huge success. Ella and Kristina had over thirty educators in attendance, all who gave positive feedback.

What’s next? Kristina and Ella say that for a mere 50,000 dollars, an entire school can be built and sustained- staff, books, bills, etc.- for five years. They tell me that they would love to create a county-wide drive; between every school in Union County, they believe that 50,000 dollars could be raised. Kristina says, “What do you think we would feel- our students would feel, our teachers would feel- if we, as a county, collectively sponsored a school in Pakistan/Afghanistan? We would be responsible for the education of thousands of children. That is a big difference as opposed to none at all.” That is a big difference. Now I ask you- can we do it?

Written by: Kristina Drye
Posted: Nov 08, 2010 by Donna Helms

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