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January 2017

Inc., Random Acts of Kindness & Cutting Boards

in Arts in our schools/Student Activism by

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So far, this semester, U-32 Inc, a student-run entrepreneurial experience, has teamed up to create two products.  Initially, George Cook’s class began the semester in collaboration with Dave Bazis and the Furniture Design class at U-32.  Through a collaborative effort, Bazis’s students instructed Cook’s students in the production phase.  Cook said, “I cannot tell you how instrumental they were in the process.  Their craftsmanship is fantastic!”  In total, the students created 53 cutting boards, each individually unique.  No two boards were the same.  The prices ranged from $20 to $48.  To their surprise, all 53 boards were sold, in less than 80 minutes!

Congratulations to Alli for receiving a one of a kind zoo bar for being helpful and inclusive. She takes time out of her day to make others feel better. #u32daysofgiving

Currently, a “giving” arm of Inc. is being developed and they have introduced #U32daysofgiving.  In this endeavor, Cook’s class has teamed up with Nutty Steph’s chocolate shop from Middlesex (VT).  Junior Wyatt Mashkuri designed the labels and, working with Nutty Stephs, they purchased 75 bars from her.  The group invited all U-32 students to submit recommendations for other individuals in the building to nominate folks who have performed random acts of kindness within the U-32 learning community!  Now, the class is awarding the chocolate bars to 32, U-32 students, for being kind!  You can check out their instagram feed.

Youth Ambassadors in the Muslim World

in Student Activism by
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The U-32 and YES Abroad Connection

By Karen Liebermann

One student at at time, one year at a time, U-32 has been cultivating youth ambassadors in countries with significant Muslim populations.  This is made possible by the Kennedy-Lugar YES Abroad Program, an exchange program sponsored by the US Department of State.  YES was started in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, as an effort to increase dialogue and mutual understanding between people of the US and people of countries with significant Muslim populations. Initially, it was a way for students from abroad to live and study in the US, but in 2007, it was expanded to include US students.  Each year, 65 American students win this scholarship to study abroad in a country that has a significant Muslim population, and U-32 students have a great record of being selected for this fully funded school year exchange program.  Students can spend their junior, senior or gap years immersed in another culture.

In 2013-14, Quinn McVeigh (class of 2015) travelled to Oman, making lasting connections with her host family.  In 2014-15, Katie Ware spent her junior year in the  Philippines and Rachael Phillips (class of 2015) spent her senior year in Sarajevo,  Bosnia.  Last year, Kanwara “Pui” Limakara from Thailand, came to U-32 on a YES exchange (the program that brings students from countries with significant Muslim populations here to the US).

On exchange currently, in Dakar, Senegal, is Cricket Liebermann. Cricket has been in Senegal since September 1st and will return in June of 2017.  She’s in school at the Senegalese American Bilingual School in Dakar, and is getting involved in the community, playing softball on the school team and taking dance classes.  Of this experience so far, Cricket says:

“Having the chance to study abroad in Senegal has made me grow in so many ways.  Just over two months ago, I arrived in Dakar and everyday since then I have been learning, exploring, meeting new people, immersing myself in the culture.  I can say for sure that exchange has changed the way I see and interpret so many things. It is truly a life changing experience.”

Cricket is blogging about her experience this year through vttodakar.wordpress.com and is happy to answer any questions about what it is like to apply, and to be on exchange through this program.

Think you might be the next U-32 ambassador or know of a young person who could be?  Check out the YES Abroad website  for application information.  The deadline for applying for the 2017-18 year was December 1st, 2016, but it’s not too early to be dreaming and planning for 2018-19.  This year’s students are abroad in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal, and Thailand.

Berlin Saving Money, Decreasing Waste, & Making Compost

in Student Activism by

By Colin Trottier, Berlin 6th grader

Berlin Elementary School has reusables, so we don’t throw away paper plates and plastic utensils anymore.

Before November 2016, we  threw away paper and plastic,  when we had classroom parties and school celebrations.  Teachers and parents wasted money by buying paper and plastic products. B.E.S. wasted money by paying for our garbage to be taken away to the landfill. Instead, we could have used reusables and washed our dishes. But Berlin Elementary did not have the money to buy reusables. So Ms. Dawkins wrote a School Zero Waste grant from Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District (CVSWMD).

The School Zero Waste grant is for reducing waste, so they liked the idea of reusables. Now, each classroom has the following reusables: metal utensils,  plastic bowls, plastic cups. The utensils are stored in a plastic-covered box. Now when we have  parties, school celebrations, and daily healthy snack, we can use reusables, instead of paper plates, paper cups, and plastic spoons or forks.

Thanks to CVSWMD, Berlin Elementary School is a GREENER place.

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