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Exciting Things are Happening in Research & Service this Semester!

In addition to teaching English to new immigrants from Nepal each Friday, the Changing Face of Vermont Research & Service class has been working with English Language Learners at the Sustainability Academy, a public elementary school in Burlington. Working together with these students who have all immigrated recently to Vermont, the VCS class is collaborating on three different service projects. Elsa, Jordan, Shannon & Sophia are all helping to run a clothing drive for the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (please support them by bringing in warm winter clothes!). Bella, Emil & Seth are working with a group of 3rd grade students to make a promotional video for the Sustainability Academy. And Camille, Katharina, Leslie, Lex, Maggie, Sarah and Tim are working with students on a photo documentary project that will be displayed in the elementary school. This is service embedded within service, as we are doing these service projects while helping the ELL students learn to speak better English!

We also recently had the amazing opportunity to meet with Peter Keny who arrived in Burlington in 2001 as one of the resettled “Lost Boys” from Sudan. Keny, along with Julia Elmore, now works with the Sudan Development Foundation, a local organization that is raising money to build health clinics in Sudan. The two of them spent two hours talking to us about the history and current situation in Sudan, and Keny told us his own story of fleeing from his village at the age of six. Find out more about their amazing work at www.sudef.org.

Our work with these new Americans, old and young, has been raising lots of questions for the students about international politics and cultural pluralism, which we have been researching and discussing on our “off” days when we are at VCS. What was/is the situation in Sudan, Somalia, Nepal and other places that have caused people to flee as refugees? How does the international system of refugee resettlement work? What are the challenges and opportunities for a refugee resettlement city like Burlington?

Posted by Mark Cline Lucey

Scholarship. Community. Global Responsibility.

At Vermont Commons School, our goal is to engage students with their world. We achieve this through programs and a curriculum grounded in local and global involvement.