Friday, January 27, 2017

Student Artwork, Harper Sample, Willie Page, Music All-State, & More

Last weekend featured the Presidential Inauguration and the Women's March.  In my humble opinion, the unsung heroes of the weekend are the architects of our nation's Constitution. Two Hundred and Thirty years ago, our Founding Fathers designed a document that allowed for a peaceful transfer of power and a peaceful protest.  The transfer of power in our great nation is done with a handshake and well wishes, and not by tanks and fighter jets.  We should all be proud and thankful.  The passing of the baton on Friday was followed by national demonstrations. The right to peacefully protest is a bastion of our great democracy.

A difficult transition, but your support in reinforcing an important message delivered this afternoon would be greatly appreciated.  We have struggled all year with some students not cleaning their trash after lunch, leaving food remnants, plates, and utensils all over the school, and a general lack of regard for cleanliness of the school.   We have allowed them to eat in various locations throughout the school with the understanding that they need to clean up after themselves.  Unfortunately, it has not improved.  For next week, the students will only be allowed to eat in the cafe.  Hopefully, things improve, and we can resume eating as we have since the start of school.  It would be appreciated if you could help reinforce the need to respect this beautiful facility that we are so fortunate to inhabit each and every day.

Outside of that minor blip, semester II is off to a fantastic start.  Read on to learn about recent accomplishments and events at our school.




Prospective Superintendent Visits
This week three potential superintendents visited CCHS.  The candidates met with students and staff.  A big thank you to our students who represented our school well.  Iris Chen, Olivia Coutre,
Rayven Heath, Mackenzie Thomas, Charles Israel, Tyler Hebert, & Angelina Serafini.



Harper Sample

Harper Sample's Semester Abroad


I am one of the 300 seniors here at CCHS, however unlike my peers, I will be spending the next five months in a small town in northern France. It has always been a dream of mine to learn a different language, but felt I was never going to learn a whole language by sitting in a classroom for five hours a week. I decided my sophomore year that I was going to take a semester off and travel to France. I just needed to figure out how to make it all possible. I found a program called CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange). In short; you apply to the high school abroad program and choose one of their eleven locations. I applied to the France location and was accepted. I filled out an extensive questionnaire about myself, which assisted CIEE in placing me with a compatible host family. Once my host location was established, they then enrolled me in a nearby high school for my spring semester.


In just one week I will be fully immersed in a different country, language and culture. While it will be hard, I will say goodbye to my whole comfort zone. In a couple days I will say goodbye to my parents, my siblings, my friends, my peers, my school and my home here in Concord, MA. I will travel with the program for a week to adjust to the French culture and a new lifestyle. I will soon be welcomed by a whole new family; three brothers ages eleven, nine and six, and host parents. It will be interesting going from being the youngest of four to the oldest and only girl of four. Although, I am graduating early, I will attend a French high school and take all my assigned classes in French. It will no doubt be hard, but it will be a great experience and very rewarding I’m sure. I owe a big thank you to my guidance counselor Ms. Brown, all my French teachers, Superintendent Rigby, Principal Mastrullo and especially my parents for making this all possible.  



Harper's Host Family



Willie Page
Willie Page is a very talented and creative senior at CCHS.  He just finished the World Religions course this past week, and for his final project he interviewed three people about how they view divine power. With their responses, he created art that resembled aspects of their descriptions. In this presentation he includes questions along with the drawings to spark ideas in the viewer's mind about religion and the religious impulse, and how his work represents it. Willie is a firm believer that there is no better way to express one's ideas than through art, whether it be through a drawing or on the stage.  Please take the time to view his assignment.  For full effect, it is best to preview it in presentation mode.


The Face of Divinity by Willie Page





Joseph Koontz


Joseph Koontz Graduates
After eight great years, Joseph Koontz graduated from Concord-Carlisle High School after a very successful career in our Pathways Program. He will be remembered for his kindness and his civic responsibility as evidenced by his enthusiastic recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance every day. Joseph is currently a student in the Transitional Scholars Program at Massachusetts Bay Community College. Joseph is most excited about his future which includes: travel, career exploration, and spending time with his family. Good luck, Joe.






Andy & The Gang

Mr. Andy Bower
A big thank you to Andy Bower.  For the past eight years, Andy has been an integral part of our Pathways Program.  He is fiercely dedicated to the students of our school.  Andy has held many jobs and several different roles: job coach, tutor, academic support person, van driver, & anything else that was asked of him.  Department Chair, Tom Keane describes Andy as dedicated, versatile, and willing to do whatever is asked of him to benefit students.  More importantly, Tom said Andy is a great human being who is wired to work with kids.  Andy is moving to Austin, Texas with his family.  We wish him nothing but happiness.  

CCHS staff member, Anna Romanov, along with other members of the department made a video of Andy spanning the past 8 years.  Enjoy!

Andy Bower Video






All-State Concert Band
We are pleased to announce that the CCHS Music Department has 7 students that have been named to Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) All-State Concert Band and Orchestra.  These students will participate in rehearsals at the Sheraton Boston Hotel on March 9-10th, culminating in a performance at Boston’s Symphony Hall on March 11th.  We are incredibly proud of these highly motivated and talented students. Please take a moment to congratulate them when you see them!

Clara Hoey (Timpani)
Marisa Ih (Clarinet)
Eleanor Kuchar (Clarinet)
Matthew Li (Bassoon)
Steve Li (Oboe)
Matthew Murphy (Trombone)

Jeffrey Zhu (Cello)





CCHS Participates in Women's March in Boston
By Elise Kaplan — Class of 2018

Led by pink pinwheels through a crowd of 175,000, I—along with 17 other Concord Carlisle students and teachers—marched through the streets of Boston this past Saturday in the Women’s March for America. This was my first march, as it was for many of the other group members, and definitely, an experience that will never be forgotten. 

We arrived in Boston well in advance, stopping to take pictures with the ducklings wearing pink cat hats—the “symbol” of the march. Joining the growing crowd, we found ourselves near the front of the mass and close enough to hear the speakers on the stage. Speakers included: Minister Mariama White-Hammond, Mayor Marty Walsh, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Hayat Imam, Poet Nkosi Nkululeko, and Attorney General Maura Healey. Each representative spoke of the march’s mission statement: to seek social and political reform around the topics of women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, the rights of POC, climate change, affordable care, and to recognize the significance of indigenous people. 

After hearing the speakers, the crowd moved slowly toward the street to start the march. The street was filled with thousands of protesters wearing pink hats and holding political signs that embodied the march’s message. As we walked, we chanted mantras and rhymes loudly along the mile-long route, encouraged by onlookers from the side of the road. 

I can honestly say I’ve never felt such a sense of community and humanity. To be surrounded by thousands and thousands of passionate people urging for political and social change was more liberating than anything else I’ve ever experienced. The march organizers had planned for around 90,000 people when on the day of, nearly double that number showed up. This demonstrated a powerful message expressing that the voice of democracy will not be silenced, even during a time of turbulence within our nation. If nothing else, it offered solidarity. This experience has reiterated the importance of activism, and given not only me, but also my peers inspiration to strive to improve society on a both a local and national scale. 

Caitlin Smith had this to say about the event.  "This was an amazing, historic event; I'm glad that so many of us from CCHS could attend. I was especially inspired by the leadership of our CC students who energized their friends, made signs, and shared their concerns in such a positive way. Kudos to them!"







CONCORD-CARLISLE HIGH SCHOOL BAND AND ORCHESTRA 
By David Gresko

CCHS Band & Orchestra Proudly Presents: PRISM 2017
Saturday, February 11th 7pm
CCHS Auditorium

The Concord Carlisle High School Bands and Orchestra will present their annual PRISM Concert on Saturday, February 11th at 7:00 pm,  in the auditorium at Concord-Carlisle High School. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students (K-12) and seniors. Tickets (reserved seating) are available at www.ticketstage.com (Search for Concord-Carlisle HS and Prism Concert 2017). Additional tickets may be available at the door but you should order online for the best seats!


PRISM is a non-stop musical kaleidoscope, showcasing the talented student musicians of the Concord-Carlisle High School Bands and Orchestra.  A variety of musical styles and ensembles will be presented throughout the performing space, creating an interactive experience for the audience. This is an annual event to help support the Alfred W. Dentino Excellence in Music Fund.  This fund helps support the many needs of the program, including District and State fees and private lesson scholarships.


Sports Updates
I am sharing some recent highlights from our sports teams.  

Captain Alex Raddassi

Our wrestling team won the DCL small title last night against AB. It was the first time since 2010.

Other wrestling results: Concord-Carlisle 52  Waltham 15

Concord Carlisle wrestling had a great showing against Waltham winning 8 out of the 10 contested bouts on the night.  Aaron Murphy (Sophomore, 132), Jack Conroy (Sophomore, 145), Joe Conroy (Senior, 152), Jivan Galper (Sophomore, 170), Sam Randle (Senior, 195), and Bobby France (Sophomore, 220) all had pins.

Track

Girls 75, Bedford 25. Girls finish the regular season undefeated (5-0), DCL Small School Champions.
Boys 50, Bedford 49. Boys finish 4-1.
Boys hockey lost to Haverhill 3-1

Congratulations to the CC Boys & Girls team for winning the first race of the season.
Top Finishers were Alexander Burt, Ayden Nichol, Tyler Lee & Miles Kissinger for the boys
and Phoebe Meyerson, Lydia Yoder, Kylee Bowen & Whitney Nash for the girls
WELL DONE team, gutsy racing out there all around! 

Recent Girls Swimming Results
Westford 97 - Concord Carlisle 80

Recent Boys Swimming Results
Westford 89 - Concord Carlisle 86
Sophomore Livy Poulin won diving.
Freshman Kai Tang won the breaststroke.
Freshman Jamie Drew showed the biggest improvement on the day, dropping 12 seconds in the 500 Free.

The girls are now 8-1.
The boys are 4-5.



Girls Hockey
1-1 vs Waltham on 1/21
Goal scored by Gabriela Braceras, her 3rd goal of the season



Warriors for Warriors/ Patriots for Patriots check donation 15,000 the LT. Scott Miley Fund









Community Education Information
By Jill Asser
Director of Adult & Community Education




A grant from the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest makes lifelong learning a reality for many local citizens who require some financial assistance. Your application for assistance is confidential. Please contact Jill Asser (jasser@concordps.org) in the Adult & Community Education office for an application. The Community Chest opens the doors of learning for everyone. For more information or to donate, visit www.cccommunitychest.org.


College Search & Recruiting for Student Athletes
Join us to learn about navigating the college search and recruiting process. We will cover the factors that influence a student’s college preferences, special timelines, recruiting regulations and terminology, the different NCAA divisions, how to develop an outreach campaign to make coaches aware of you, what coaches are looking for and how to interview with a coach, and academic and athletic action items for each year of high school - and more! Parents and students are welcome to join us on February 14 & 16, 7-9 pm.


The Technology Toolbox: Mindfulness in the age of digital distraction


Research shows that sustained attention is a top predictor of success in life, but digital distraction interferes. Technology is not going away, so how do teens and parents moderate a productive use of screen time with the entertaining allure of non-academic media? Join CC ACE on February 7th to learn more!


SAT Prep Bootcamp for the March test
Our workshop with Summit Educational Group includes one full-length practice test and one 4-hour instructional session, and has been specifically designed to give your child an overview of the academic skills and strategies he or she will need on test day. Workshop size will be limited to sixteen students per class section.


Visit www.ace.colonial.net or call 978-318-1432 to register today!


Financial aid application are available by contacting jasser@concordps.org.


Student Artwork





Sandro Lopresti
After Michelangelo

By Ginevra Davis

By Grace Pacelle
Stopping Time

By Daphne Baldoumas
You Are What You Think






Ultimate Frisbee Practice
Ultimate Frisbee Practice

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Global Literacy Program Recipients: Mark Behnam, Deedy Chang, Alden Harring, Zaina Huseni, David Jiang, Mia Royce, Kasey Stewart, Benny Thomas, & Emma Walker.


In partnership with parents and the community, we are preparing students to be active and responsible global citizens. We are acutely aware of the immensity of this responsibility. Rather than shy away from it, we choose to embrace it; evidenced by our mission statement. 

"Committed to excellence in and out of the classroom, the CCHS community believes that it is our mission to inspire our students from Concord, Carlisle, and Boston to strive for and meet high levels of academic and personal achievement. We believe that the respectful, supportive and engaging learning environment at CCHS instills intellectual curiosity, a passion for learning as well as an understanding of one’s role in the local community and in a diverse global society. "

Through studying world languages and religions, through researching different customs and cultures, through academic research and engaging classroom discussions, through international and domestic travel, we strive to lift globalization from engaging classroom rhetoric to authentic, multi-cultural experiences. 

Nowhere is this more evident than our Global Literacy Certificate (GLC) program created by our dedicated and talented World Language Department.

Read on to learn more about the GLC program at CCHS, and to meet the 2016 student recipients.  

Global Literacy Program
World Language Department

The Global Literacy Certificate program at CCHS is designed to foster global and cross-cultural awareness in high school students. It aims to support CCHS students in acquiring a forward-looking global perspective. The main goal of this program is to better support students in gaining cultural competence in order to contribute to, and participate in, an increasingly connected and globalized world.  Studies have shown that improving cultural competence, combined with the study of world languages, promotes cross-cultural understanding and the ability to think globally while students reflect on, and gain a better understanding of their culture.  

The Global Literacy Certificate recipients understand that being linguistically and culturally competent are necessary skills for communicating effectively with people across geographic, cultural and language divides.  In addition, they have a deep appreciation and regard for diversity and the ability to interact respectfully with others, at home and around the world.

Based on their interests, students can choose to participate in the program and complete the requirements necessary to earn the Global Literacy Certificate (GLC). These include volunteering for at least 25 hours in a culture different from their own and completing 3 years of language study at the high school level. 


Global Literacy Certificate Recipients 2016
Mark Behnam; Deedy Chang; Alden Harring; Zaina Huseni; David Jiang;  Mia Royce;
Kasey Stewart;  Benny Thomas;  & Emma Walker.   



Emma Walker
     CCHS  YOG 2017

Languages: Enrolled in Spanish AP and French 4H

Hi! My name is Emma Walker and I am a senior at CC. I have been volunteering through a few organizations to become eligible  for the Global Literacy Certificate Program. Currently I am tutoring an 8th grade girl who recently arrived from Haiti. As she is not yet fluent in English, we review her classwork in French. At the organic farm where I work, I gathered and donated fresh vegetables to the Bread and Roses food pantry in Lawrence, MA where I also prepared and served meals. This coming winter I will teach skating to kids with challenges through a program I’ve assisted with for many years. I am also a leader of the UNICEF club and a member of the Concord Amnesty International group. While in these organizations I don’t work directly with other cultures, we fundraise and advocate on their behalf. Our club raised money for relief from the Ecuador earthquake last spring and in Amnesty we send letters requesting rights for unjustly accused prisoners held in solitary confinement and death row.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities to help while learning about communities other than my own. I appreciate receiving this certificate from the Global Literacy Program as a recognition of my learning from other cultures. I think interacting directly with people of cultures different from my own enriches your understanding of the world and yourself. From my experiences I have found that communication and cultural engagement create new perspectives and friendships. I look forward to continuing on this path of global citizenship.







Deedy Chang
CCHS YOG 2017
Languages:  Mandarin and enrolled in  Latin 4

In the summer of 2015, I hopped on a plane to Taiwan to explore my family roots. I traveled to different cities in Taiwan and dedicated my volunteer services to a joint restaurant-bakery where I had the opportunity to interact with an amazing staff and customers. I spent most of my time making desserts with the head baker.

While I was in Taiwan, I also had the opportunity to volunteer in the National Museum of Natural Science in the city of Taichung. I drew side profiles/diagrams of archaeological pottery remains and had a great time talking with the staff of the anthropology department. While I was in Taiwan, I taught English informally to several friends, family, and co-workers.

As a Carlisle resident, especially one who doesn’t get many chances to travel, it’s easy for me to forget that another world exists outside of the rural suburbs. Taiwan was a much-needed reminder of human diversity and gave me a renewed sense of pride and respect for not just my culture, but others as well. As for my cultural experiences back home, I’m involved with Carlisle’s Multicultural Festival (originally an annual Chinese New Year Festival). This is a town-wide festival that celebrates Carlisle’s hidden diversity. My role is to help with the preparation process leading up to the day of the event and to host the performance. To be able to interact with and help communities of different cultures is a humbling experience and a push for a more open mind.



 Benny Thomas
    CCHS  YOG 2017
Languages: Haitian Creole and  enrolled in French AP

Living in Boston, I found that there were not many opportunities to play soccer. Luckily, I was able to find a club in East Boston and play my favorite sport. Through that club, I was provided the opportunity to perform community service in that neighborhood, which is not where I reside. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I was able to work with kids from different backgrounds and different countries in  South America. I facilitated several soccer clinics for kids to play and have fun. I helped clean up a field at a middle school in East Boston, allowing the kids to have a safe and environmentally friendly space to play soccer. In addition,we painted the boundary lines, the halfway lines, the “18” and the goalie’s box.

As a group, we decided to make a bigger impact on the community so we decided to host a block party. I was involved behind the scenes making phone calls and organizing the event to make it run smoothly. At  this event, people from the  East Boston Hispanic community brought specialties from their respective countries and shared it with everyone. Working with people from different backgrounds has helped me understand how important it is to learn and appreciate other people’s culture and how, through a sport, we can make so many connections and much impact.



Alden Harring
CCHS YOG 2018
Enrolled in Spanish 4H

In April of my freshman year, I was fortunate enough to go on the Youth Group Mission Trip with TriCon Church. Roughly 65 members of the youth group traveled to Catadupa, in the mountains of Jamaica to help build school houses, playgrounds, walls, latrines, and other much-needed structures. For a week, we slept on the floor of the Christian Fellowship Church and showered under a large drainage pipe waterfall. While we certainly didn’t have the comforts of home, this trip was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

My group in particular was building a playground and prepping for the construction of a new room at the Cambridge Christian Fellowship Church School. The whole time we were working, the students at the school were in classes. Even though we didn’t get to see the project from start to finish, it was so powerful to see and interact with the children who would be directly benefitting from our work. Despite the language barrier –most people spoke an English-Spanish dialect with a heavy Jamaican accent– we were still able to form relationships with the children. This included dancing during our lunch breaks, piggy-back rides, and letting them take pictures with our cameras while wearing a variety of our hats, sunglasses, and bandanas. Even though we were outsiders in every sense of the word, we were still welcomed with open arms and treated with the best that they had to offer. Now back at home, I continue to have much closer relationships with the other members who went on the trip with me as well as a better perspective on other cultures and the privileges I enjoy every day.



IMG_4907.jpg
David Jiang
CCHS YOG 2018
Languages:  Mandarin and enrolled in Spanish AP


In the summer of freshman year, I hopped on a plane to visit cousins in San Antonio, the last place in the world I would expect to have an international experience. Yet, underneath the surface of the stars and stripes patriotism of Texas, there is a thriving Latin American community, many from the border towns of McAllen and Laredo, that I had the great pleasure and privilege of working and living with while I was a volunteer counselor at CAMP Camp, an establishment for children with a variety of disabilities to have the best “summer camp” experience.

Many of the children as well as the counselors were Latino, which made for a great opportunity to utilize Spanish, as we laughed, talked, ate, and sang. At CAMP Camp, it seemed as if the generally laborious work of moving the CAMPERs to and from their wheelchairs, administering medication or feeding tubes, or helping the cooks in the kitchen, was a breeze. The scorching hot Texas desert days were nothing as we accompanied our “CAMPERS” to and from activities like horseback riding, canoeing, archery, or swimming for fourteen hour days. Despite my dream of travelling the world, I now realize that one does not need to go far from home to experience another culture, which is crucial to help understand one’s own.



Growing up in a household that speaks Mandarin on a daily basis, foreign languages already take a large part in my life. I have always been interested in studying geography, history, and world cultures on own. Last April, I embarked on the school’s Ecuador Exchange trip, living with a host family in Quito and visiting the countryside and Gal├ípagos archipelago. This year I am taking AP Spanish, which I hope can contribute to my desire to travel the entirety of South America sometime in the near future. I am also a leader of the UNICEF club, which fundraised money for the Ecuador earthquake and Haitian hurricane. In summation, all of these experiences substantially expanded my worldview and opened my eyes to this wonderfully diverse, multi-faceted, and complex globe we live in. I am incredibly grateful for receiving this certificate, not only as recognition for broadening my current worldview philosophy, but also as motivation to continue my development to becoming an informed, culturally caring, global citizen.


Mia Royce
CCHS YOG 2017
Enrolled in Spanish AP

Two summers ago I volunteered in the sugar cane plantation communities in the Dominican Republic where I helped create and run a summer camp. I have been attending summer camp my entire life, and before returning to my own camp to be a counselor, I decided to share my greatest passion with the beautiful children of Los Bayetes. Coming from areas of intense rural poverty, the kids would count the days all year until camp would begin. The camp was a safe and loving environment which provided the kids with electricity, running water, hot meals, first aid, English education, sports, art supplies, and the undivided attention of devoted counselors.

The children enrolled in the camp are some of the poorest in the world. Attendance is considered the highest privilege for the village’s children as our director equated the week of our camp with a week of “Disneyland on steroids” by American standards. The camp proved to the kids that they are worthy of special attention, that they are loved, that they have not been forgotten by the rest of the world. I think a special aspect of the camp was that not only that we were able to offer palpable help and service to our campers and their community, but that we were also able to support them emotionally by creating real relationships. Unlike other forms of service such as philanthropy, working at a food drive, or even cleaning up a beach, volunteering at a camp allows you to form deep, meaningful connections with those being helped.

As a photographer, I made it my duty to capture the faces, the personalities, and the beauty of the children of Los Bayetes. It is important for us, especially living in this CCHS bubble, to recognize that there are other people living on this planet, with other stories to tell, and other perspectives to share. I hope that my photography forces viewers to recognize and celebrate the different stories of our diverse world. I use my images to ignite dialogues and spark questions concerning the human condition; by having these conversations, we can better understand how to improve lives and change policies to achieve a healthier global human existence.



Zaina Husen
CCHS YOG 2017

Languages: Hindi and enrolled in French AP



Over the summer I had an amazing opportunity to volunteer at an organization which helped women become financially independent and learn to create their own businesses in India. Having lived in India for four years when I was younger and living in a household that speaks Hindi, communication was not a problem, but the rural areas I was volunteering at were places I had never been exposed to until then.


Every day I would wake up early and drive to a different village with my designated volunteer from Gujarat Livelihood Promotion, the organization I was working with. My basic responsibilities were to collect and file paperwork for each women at each group I visited as well as teach them how to use a bank machine, but throughout that I learned about the lives of the people of each village I went to. I met many women from various groups and learned about the difficulty of starting their own businesses and earning money for themselves when they had other responsibilities such as raising their children, looking after their farms, and lack of transport. Many of the women who I collected signatures didn’t have enough education to write their own names, signing with their fingerprint instead, a moment that made me realize how even basic education can improve a woman’s life. I also had the opportunity to go the bank and talk with associates who helped set up and monitor each woman’s account, learning about information such as  government loans and interest rates.

Besides learning more about my own culture in India, I am currently taking AP French and am learning a lot about different francophone cultures throughout the world, which has helped expand my knowledge on different cultures, something I have always been interested in.




Kasey Stewart
CCHS YOG 2018
Enrolled in Spanish 4H
In 2015, I went on a 16-day trip that opened my eyes to different worlds and to different needs people have around the world. With twelve fellow students and three supervisors from my former school, I traveled to Peru with a group called World Challenge. This trip put my language skills to the test. It also tested and broadened my view and appreciation of different cultures, and it forced our group to think about our responsibilities as citizens of a larger world.
Before we left, I created a supply drive called “Pencils for Peru” where fellow travelers and I collected school supplies that we carried to Peru in our backpacks to distribute to a local school there. We landed in Lima, Peru, then traveled to Puno, one of the poorest cities in Peru. We bought supplies in Puno to help paint local buildings being developed into village hostels. Our trip also included planned service projects along the shores of Lake Titicaca where we helped local villagers with their harvests and with the care for their animals. We delivered our “Pencils for Peru” school supplies to local schools, and it was gratifying to see how needed they were, and that they would be put to such good use.
One part of the trip also tested our endurance. During one 5-day segment of the trip, we hiked the Salkantay Trek, often at altitudes above 13,000 feet. As satisfying as that accomplishment was, nothing was more satisfying than using my language skills to connect with local Peruvians to understand their needs and to provide help. When our trip began, I was elected to be our group’s Spanish translator. I spoke with local citizens in different towns and villages – from local hostel owners, to rural village farmers. It felt liberating to be able to communicate with so many people halfway around the world. It felt good to learn that, with a little hard work, we can all contribute to making the world a better place.



Mark Behnam
CCHS YOG 2018
Languages:  German and  enrolled in  Spanish  4

I completed my volunteer requirement for the Global Literacy Certificate in Germany. There I was a counselor and teacher at a Christian summer camp for three years after having already participated as a camper myself. The camp runs from 1-6pm but the typical day for a counselor is from 12-8pm. As a counselor it was my responsibility to lead an activity which was a sports activity group for the older children. This meant that everyday the games had to be prepared and planned for the next day as well as making sure the materials for the current day were ready as well. Then everyday for a little over two hours myself and another counselor had to lead the kids in the activity and make sure everyone is safe. Additionally to that, when the activity time is over, I had to help teach the message of the day to a little bible study group in the form of a little reading and a few activities.

This past summer was especially memorable though because, in addition to all my responsibilities, I also had to translate for one specific camper. The camper was an Iranian boy visiting his grandmother in Germany for the summer. He spoke Arabic and very little  English but no German. And so as I mentioned I translated for him. He was paired with me and would go with me to all activities including the sports group. Because I speak English as well as German fluently I was able to communicate all the necessary instructions to him and make sure that he was having just as much fun and learning as the other German children.

I am extremely grateful to be in a position where I can give back and spend time volunteering and recommend to anyone who is interested to pursue it. Working at the camp made volunteering that much easier because working alongside a group of dedicated volunteers who are giving up their summer days to watch over and teach children is very inspirational. The camp taught me how to work together with other volunteers who are interested and dedicated and showed me the importance of continuing to volunteer as well as just showed me how fun and important teaching is. The camp also reminded me of the importance of staying globally connected and continuing to practice my languages and learn about new cultures by having to translate for the one Arabic speaking camper. If I had not been fluent in both languages,  his time at the camp would not have been as fun and he would not have felt included.