Y.E. Smith students study other cultures using Skype

Y.E. Smith Elementary School students use Skype to study other cultures during a recent session at Duke University’s Corporate Education office at the American Tobacco Campus.
Y.E. Smith Elementary School students use Skype to study other cultures during a recent session at Duke University’s Corporate Education office at the American Tobacco Campus. Submitted

When Academically/Intellectually Gifted (AIG) students from Y.E. Smith Elementary School study a different culture or country, they don’t just talk about it in class. They bring in guest speakers from Duke University and talk face to face over Skype with a class in that country.

Through a partnership with the Rotary Club of Durham, 10 of Meghan Antol’s AIG students recently spent a morning talking with students in Gujarat, India, at Duke’s Corporate Education office at the American Tobacco Campus.

Leading up to the Skype event, these fourth- and fifth-grade students spent time researching India, learning about the country’s culture and Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement.

Purnima Shah, professor of the practice of dance at Duke, also spent time visiting with the students to discuss how dance was an integral part of the Indian culture.

During the exchange, Shah showed portions of a documentary she directed and produced called “Dancing with the Goddess,” which focused on religious traditions in Gujarat, India, during the festival “Navaratri.”

The students learned how certain traditions are being lost because of the impact of globalization. Even the Indian students that lived in the same state were unaware of this festival.

The partnership between Y.E. Smith and the Rotary Club started as Rotary Reading Rangers. Rotary Education Committee member Todd Taylor saw an opportunity to expand the partnership to include a cultural exchange.

This is the fourth year Y.E. Smith students have participated.

Students learn career-readiness skills

High school students from across Durham Public Schools recently learned key career-readiness skills, took part in mock job interviews and learned about community college courses that can lead to high-demand jobs during the annual “Ready, Set, Go…Launch Your Career event held at the Hamner Conference Center.

The event targets juniors and seniors who plan to enter the workforce directly out of high school.

The event included a general session on communication skills and four focused workshops that included mock interviews, dress for success, career fair and a Durham Technical Community College registration and special programs.

Youth Commissioners sought

Durham youth who want a voice in their city government are now being invited to apply to serve on the Durham Youth Commission.

Youth are encouraged to download an application and apply to serve a one-year term on the 2017-2018 commission, which consists of 30 members from grades 9–12 chosen by a selection committee composed of the city staff members, peers, and Durham residents.

Durham Youth Commission members commit to a one-year term of service; serve on city boards and committees as appointed and attend all meetings of those boards and committees; complete 40 hours of community service during their term of service; as well as attend and actively participate in all meetings, service projects, and special events sponsored by the commission.

Durham youth interested in submitting an application must reside within Durham County, express an interest in contributing to the greater well-being of Durham, commit to 100 percent participation in all activities, demonstrate leadership in school or community activities and complete the required application with two reference letters postmarked by April 30.

Completed application packets should be mailed to the City of Durham Office on Youth, attention Durham Youth Commission, 101 City Hall Plaza, Durham, N.C. 27701.

In addition to downloading an application from the City’s website, hard-copy applications are also be available at the Durham Teen Center, 1101 Cornell St, Durham Public Schools middle and high school guidance counselor offices as well as in private and home schools and at the Durham County Public Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.

For more information, visit the city’s Office on Youth website or contact Senior Community Relations Coordinator Evelyn Scott at (919) 354-2730, ext. 11104 or by email.

Greg Childress: 919-419-6645, @gchild6645