I really didn't have a topic until I went to my daughter's school concert: Sing for Japan! It was positively awesome. They had many performances and even karaoke. The best part was when their foreign exchange student took the podium and spoke in English with a Japanese accent. She recounted her fear during March, of her family possibly being devastated by the earthquake, tremors and tsunami. You could see the relief on her face that her family was safe. However, a tear rolled down her cheek and she told us about her best friend, who had moved to the northern coast of Japan. She told of her friend's tragic fate and the lack of communication with her friend's family. She still has no idea if anyone survived. The young woman's voice wavered and the tears began to spill uncontrollably. We gave her a moment to compose herself and continue her tale. When her speech was done, there was not a dry eye in the concert hall. We gave her a standing ovation. The young lady will return to her home at the end of June. My daughter hopes to visit her one day in Japan.
Last night, my daughter asked me to type her essay (she had handwritten it) because she just pecks at the keyboard and is a horrible typist. I agreed and am so proud of all she has accomplished this school year. I think our insightful youth just may save this world yet. So without further ado, here are the thoughts of promise. . .
CSIHSIS May 29, 2011
Ayanna Rodriguez Advisory
College of Staten Island High School for International Studies has helped me become culturally aware, aware of world events and global dynamics, and work as a collaborative team member. In CSI, we learn to understand other people and other countries. In these countries, when they are in need of help to provide what assistance we can.
To be culturally aware, you gain knowledge of individual differences. Some differences include behavior, customs, and physical and learning abilities. Diversity is a key point in cultural awareness. In diversity, traditions, religions, races and ethnicities make up your personality.
In school, we had an exchange student from Japan. For many months, the only time I saw her was on the transit bus. I met her during a practice for a Japan concert to raise money for Japan after the tsunami. I learned of some of her talents like she plays piano and speaks English as well as Japanese her native language. Also, at the end of school she will be leaving the United States for her hometown. Before she leaves, me and a few of her other friends want her to take email addresses and phone numbers so she can stay in contact with us.
In advisory, we have an international current events every Monday, so we know about world events. In the beginning of advisory on Monday we each read aloud our reports of the world. Also, some clubs and concerts try raising money for the world. In the first semester, I was part of the UNICEF club. They worked to raise money for many countries, one being Uganda. Working with the Invisible Children was very important. My group worked on a fashion show, while others worked on movie night, HOV (Hand on a Van), and jewelry sales. In Global History, we learn of culture, religion, and traditions of other countries. Also, their past histories and problems, to make us have global dynamics.
To be a collaborative member, you have to work in a team well and achieve a goal, while learning from the people and their culture. In Earth Science Lab, the teacher pairs us up to match people with different ideas. On the other hand, in Global, every marking period she changes our seat so we can work with people whose weakness is your strength and likewise for you. Each team member has a role to play in the group. For example, when we do book club, we each have roles that come with many questions to choose from. The group roles are discussion director, illuminator, illustration connector and summarizer connector is the most culturally aware. You may connect with any aspect of real life, including news, family, and world events.
Next year, in February, I will visit a part of two different countries. I will venture through Italy and Greece. I will spend three to four days in each country. Over the summer, I will try my best to learn the basics of Italian and their culture, as well as Greek culture. I will work with the teachers and other students going to try to be more culturally aware.
As a result, my high school has culturally changed me in many ways. CSI has made me more aware of the other parts of the world. This school has changed the way I think about the world. The farthest I’ve ever been from the United States was Mexico. I hadn’t even left North America. I want to be a part of the world, to play a role in society when I leave CSI.