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Belize Comes to Antioch

Speaker from Belize

We are closer than we think....Internet. Skype. Vonage. Cell phones. Facebook.  Twitter.  These modern inventions have made the world a much smaller and flatter place and yet we as teachers find ourselves limited by the four walls of our classroom trying to build experiences, background and knowledge about other countries for our students.  It is our task to expose our students to as much of this wide world as possible while not being able to leave the confines of Matthews, NC.  One way we are able to do this is to bring other countries, other experiences into the classroom.

On January 21, Antioch Elementary welcomed Lorayn DeLuca to come speak to each grade level about Belize.  As a photojournalist, Lorayn used her photos to "speak" to the students in a way that words could not convey.  The eye-opening experience provided a springboard for more conversations back in the classroom as students eagerly wanted to know more about Lorayn's recent visit to the small and little-known country in Central America.  Their enthusiasm confirmed that helping our students become more globally conscience is indeed an essential part of the curriculum that is often overlooked amid the pressure of EOG's, budget cuts, testing scores, and the three R's.

About the size of Massachusetts, Belize is a developing country that gained its independence in 1981.  This young country with 2 paved roads and suffers from its overabundance of hurricanes. Lorayn portrayed these challenges (and others) along with the contradictory beauty of nature and Belizean spirit inherent in the people of Belize through her photography.  Despite the obvious differences between many of the students at Antioch and those attending Oasis Preschool, Lorayn challenged the students think beyond the language differences, skin color, housing conditions and extreme poverty and find instead what makes us more similar than different.

Written by: Kristen Bruch, 3rd Grade Teacher
Posted: Jan 31, 2011 by Kathy Gwinn

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