It has been awhile since I have updated you with what has gone on with our Junior English classes. When we last left them, they were in the midst of planning and executing their Read-a-thon for the Kilimanjaro English Nursery School. Their goal was to raise$15,000 so that the school could provide a salary to “Teacher”, help purchase the land, and provide support to refurbish the buildings currently on-site. The juniors far exceeded their goal and have raised over $25,000 to support this project. In February, they had an opportunity to hear and meet Greg Mortenson himself, who was on a book tour. It was a cold and snowy Sunday evening, but all in attendance were in awe and inspired by the good fortune of finally meeting someone whom they admired.
As the Service Learning project has continued, the students, under the leadership of Kathy McHugh, our English teacher, have been brainstorming and researching problems and projects that the students could work on. I have had the pleasure of working with two different groups of students. The first group heard the plea of the local foundation for the Kilimanjaro English Nursery School. These students are working with the directors to create a web presence for the school and the foundation, so that they can continue their work for the school. We have decided to use a simple Word Press blog, since most of the people who will be reporting on the progress of the school are “digital immigrants”. We determined that this would be the most sustainable and scalable way for them to get up quickly. Once it is set up, I will share the site.
A second group of students is trying to develop a book sharing web site for children. They want to allow outsiders to view book reviews that members of the site can contribute. It looks like we are going to use a Drupal installation for this. I know enough about Drupal to be dangerous, but this will provide a wonderful learning opportunity for both the students and I to learn about this environment and its various modules to enable this project to start small, but be scalable if we desire.
It is a pleasure to work with students who have become impassioned and who are feeling empowered to make changes that in a small way, may change the world.