World Scholar Program Participant
Eden is aware that as a student who speaks Spanish, she will have a unique experience on the trip to the Dominican Republic (DR). Eden learned Spanish from her father, and has also taken classes to continue to learn. In preparation for the trip, Eden and her classmates have spent the whole school year brushing up their Spanish skills, learning about the culture, history, and current issues facing the DR. When asked what lesson in WSP sparked her interest the most, she shared that she enjoyed learning about the Taino Indians native to the DR, and also how the tourism industry can be damaging to the DR “because it takes their resources like food and water, and in some cases treats the tourists better than the people who live in the DR.” Thanks to our generous supporters, in a few short months Eden will get to leave the history books, class discussions and news articles behind and see the Dominican Republic with her own eyes.
To support the participants of the World Scholars Program, attend the World Scholars Program Gala, or make a contribution online www.vlacademy.org/world-scholars.
By: Tessa Foy
WSP Intern, Adler School of Professional Psychology
This week in the World Scholars Program class we continued our exploration of four main labor rights issues in the Dominican Republic including fair trade, tourism, child labor, and Haitian migrant workers. After being introduced to these issues last Wednesday, the students took it a step further this week by thinking critically about what we can do to help solve these problems. The class divided into four small groups, one for each issue, and participated in a competition to formulate a plan to implement change both at an individual level and an international level. The teachers and interns provided resources and articles to each group that focused on governmental and non-profit organizations that are working to effect change. It was our hope that the students would be inspired not just by the steps powerful governmental agencies are taking but also see that individuals can fight against these injustices themselves through education and perseverance.
The students used creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking skills to create a plan and then presented it to the class in hopes that the leaders would vote their idea the winner. The groups were eager to brainstorm solutions and it came as no surprise that their ideas were progressive and thought-provoking. Child labor seems to be of special interest to the students, especially since learning that kids their age cannot go to school because they are working endless hours to make money for their families. To combat this exploitation, the group covering child labor decided that they would create a program that would sell goods and find ways to provide funds to parents so that their children could go to school instead of working. The students recurrently impress us with their thoughtful connections and probing questions. With their journey to the Dominican Republic approaching quickly, I am confident that class activities will continue to inspire critical thinking and encourage the students in their passion for progress.