8TH GRADERS COMMUNICATE ACROSS HEMISPHERES
Seven thousand miles weren't enough to keep our students from communicating with young Syrian photographers current- ly refuged in Jordan, thanks to a project called San Francisco Portals. The group Shared_Studios set up numerous portals throughout the city, one of which was
right in our Hayes Valley neighborhood, connecting par-
ticipants to similar portals from other parts of the world,
including Afghanistan, Mexico, and Honduras. Carrie
Denning, who helped create the project, noted: “The
idea of the portal is we create this kind of Narnia door...
That’s always existed in people’s minds—this wormhole
to a distant land.”
This video conversation was part of a larger project
that aimed to raise awareness and funds for Syrian
refugees. Under the guidance of Histoire-Géographie
teacher Mouna Harifi and Director of Student Life Leslie
Adams, 8th grade students researched the conflict in
Syria and what students here at French American could
do to help. "I felt that people needed to know about it
more," said Annabel Menendez ' 20. "A lot of kids didn't
know much about the crisis before this year."
Last October, a representative of the International
Rescue Committee visited campus to discuss the refu-
gee crisis with students in both middle and high school.
Through bake sales and penny drives that began early
last year, students raised nearly $1,000 to donate to the
IRC and benefit Syrian refugees.
"This school is all about being in contact with others
in the world, whether they're in crisis or not," said Ylva
Bosemark ' 20. "The fact that we communicated and
were able to help people across the globe really fits in
with what we're taught here."
The students also presented their project at the Global
Issues Network conference, and educated their peers
about the crisis during an assembly with the entire
To listen to the students’ reflections and view NBC's
coverage of the interaction, visit: