By Emma Holm-Olsen
As we near the holiday season, I’ve been contemplating how I can make my community a better place, and what I can do to help the people around me. I think one of the best organizations at EAB that encapsulates those values is the National Honor Society. Indeed, NHS’s recent trip to the Interscholastic Center for Language is a great example of how we can all do a little bit more for others. As Charles M. Schulz said best, “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” This past Monday, a group of 6 students along with High School Biology teacher Ms. Kahle, took a trip to visit CIL, an extracurricular language school that teaches English to Brazilian students.
These are high school age students just like us, that are interested in the English language and American culture, and passionate about learning all they can about it. I saw this as an opportunity to share something that is important to me with others, as well as an exercise in diplomacy and international friendship. I always like to meet new people, and this just felt like something I had to do, for them and for myself. When we got there, my heart sunk a bit. The building was obviously old and somewhat falling apart, and the inside was bright and clean, but just a tad bit depressing if I’m being completely honest. I’m embarrassed to say that I immediately thought, “How lucky I am to be at such a nice school with such great teachers and academic opportunities!”. And even though the school was perfectly nice, it was definitely an eye-opening experience.
We walked into a tiny classroom, and saw 12 students sitting at their desks. The students’ ages ranged from 16 to 21, something that I guess surprised me a bit. They were all super sweet though, and were obviously very excited to have a little something different in their day. We introduced ourselves, and asked the students to form a circle. We started by testing on-their-feet vocabulary skills in a fast-paced ice-breaker game. Then we transitioned to discussing an article we had prepared the week before at our meeting. The article was about the pros and cons of social media, something we figured they would be interested in, since you know, us teenagers are obsessed with our phones! We broke up into groups of 6, with two EAB students per group. In our groups, we read the article, and then discussed vocabulary they had trouble with, and just the topics in general to give them some extra conversational practice.
Since we only had an hour with the students, we had to wrap it up and say our goodbyes after what seemed like only a few minutes. I had a lot of fun, and honestly hope that we continue our relationship with the school, as well as continue to work with the students. It was an invaluable experience for me, and incredibly rewarding to leave that school knowing we had taught them something, and given them something nice and new to do in a day of what might be monotonous classes. I can’t wait to see where NHS takes us next!