STEMCivics students on a mission in Haiti
As United Nations peacekeepers depart Haiti after an inauspicious stay, local students visit the island intent on changing the world.
STEMCivics Charter School of Ewing students arrived in the Caribbean island Monday afternoon with an itinerary that includes teaching English and helping with school construction in a small community.
“We have a full schedule ahead of us,” Jodi Russell, dean of STEMCivics, said.
Students and chaperones made an initial trip in May 2016. They taught English classes, visited an orphanage, helped students setup e-mail accounts, and assisted in rebuilding a school that was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.
Similar plans exist for this second trip as students learn on the go. Jayonna Tirado-Mack, Tishonna Cherry, Jamiya CaldwellCarter, Jonelle Grier, Ajia Mackins, Kai Clarke-James, Ayssatu Keita, Talaya Gore, Nazih Lewis and Jasmine Ceveda were selected for this mission.
“The benefits of this mission is enormous; from being included in the planning and meeting stages by having a say in what they would like to offer the students — things they would like to share or teach including games and other ways they would like to contribute, the process of getting their first passport, flying for the first time for many, and then landing in a foreign country with a great sense of purpose,” Russell explained.
This trip is the first of many international travels for STEMCivics students. Russell described the missions as beneficial for mental expansion.
“Each individual mission is unique and will provide students with experiences that may change their lives. Knowing that they are important, other lives are important and they can have a great impact on groups and individuals in need is priceless,” she said.
“Most inner city students do not have these opportunities that are often reserved for those in greater economic situations but this school is committed to continuing our international outreach and mission program. We see the effects it has on our students while they are on the mission and when they return home. They are changed and always come back to us asking what more they can do; they show the desire to continue helping others and to go on even more missions if possible.”
Leigh Byron, school founder, currently visits Ghana ahead of a planned trip set for March 2018. International learning continues in January when STEMCivics students visit Cuba.
The Ewing charter school presents its first graduation class in 2018.
“This school predicts 100% graduation for our first graduating class,” Russell said.
“These missions will be a positive addition to their college applications and as well as their personal view of themselves, world views, and future ventures.
STEMCivics Charter School of Ewing students visit Haiti this week as part of a teaching and learning expedition.