Face to face with the world

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:41

    WESTFALL - On May 8 the Integrated English/Social Studies classes of Delaware Valley High School participated in a video conference with a survivor of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Eugenie Mukeshimana. To prepare for the conference, students read nonfiction accounts of past African strife, watched Hotel Rwanda, consulted the OXFAM website, and monitored the current Darfur situation through The New York Times coverage. Students then wrote questions for Ms. Mukeshimana based on their research. Students who attended the conference wanted to keep a closer eye on foreign politics to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again. On a more personal note, sophomore Brittany Heaney epitomized the maturity and kindness of Delaware Valley High School students by offering Ms. Mukeshimana her condolences before asking a question. Ms. Heaney was the only questioner among five schools to do so. According to the United Nations, 937,000 Rwandans were killed in the conflict in Hutu-led slaughter of the Tutsis. Ms. Mukeshimana, who was eight months pregnant at the time of the genocide, lost her husband, father, two sisters, and many extended family members. She described to the students how she hid under beds and worked as a slave before escaping with her newborn daughter. Teachers and staff who helped organize the conference were: Tammi Swinehart, Media Center Coordinator; Larry Marcial and Sue Curtin, sophomore teachers; and Nicole Matz and Paula Baillie, junior teachers. Delaware Valley High School’s integrated program is a three-year program where 30 freshman, sophomore, and junior students’ English and Social Studies teachers work together to create a more interactive and intertwined curriculum. Other events the Integrated Program offers are: a policy debate tournament; an evening of student performances; and a cultural dinner.