NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The city high school provides students with global experiences through cultural exchanges with students in foreign countries such as Uganda, India, Denmark, Canada and France through the Fine Visual Performing Arts department and art teacher, Steven Antosky.
This project began last year with an exchange with a school in Uganda. According to Antosky, it was created to help students realize the importance of their own cultures and empower them. The planning process to establish timelines, deadlines, and educational outcomes was also complicated because of different time zones different communication tools.
Students now share letters, videos, and art work and respond to what they learned about a different culture. Mr. Antosky also partnered with other dance and photography students who created pages about their culture, the city of New Brunswick, NBHS, and events of interest, such as holidays.
In addition, French students recorded videos with the help of Ms. Coslow’s video production team. in French to practice speaking the foreign language. The students from France and Denmark also recorded videos to practice their English. The students in France created a virtual magazine. The magazine was shared with all the countries involved and the format allowed students to comment.
The positive results and the students’ engagement, says Mr. Antosky, made the hard work worth it. He was inspired by his “love and passion for NBHS. I always look for ways to create special opportunities for our students. I always strive to find ways to advocate for our beautiful school and students of New Brunswick and to improve our students’ futures.”
These specific places are chosen through a connection of educators on E-pals. Usually, the sites have students of a similar age group who study similar disciplines. They are also selected due to student interests, such as what students can relate to and what they’d like to learn more about.
Susan Badia, one of the students taking part in the cultural exchange, said: “Even small details such as the weather were very interesting, which made me think much of how important it is to value yourself, your home, and where you stand in the path of life. It is also important to appreciate and value others, because just as our Uganda friends learned from us, we were able to learn plenty from them and for that I am grateful.”
In addition, Mr. Antosky collaborates with other teachers and their classes in NBHS. He has collaborated with Ms. Giglio and her dance classes on three different exchanges, as well as Dr. Shields and her French classes, Ms. Vento and her photography classes, and Ms. Costlow and her TV Production classes.
Laurianni Rodriguez, a student who was connected with the culture exchange through her art class, said: “It is inspiring knowing that other kids around the world are trying their best for a better future. I hope that this program continues to help other students gain knowledge and appreciate what they have.”
The program’s goals are to increase students’ communication skills and build up their experiences to set them apart from other students they are competing with once they graduate on college applications and other endeavors. This program is designed to continue to help New Brunswick High School grow as a community and raise awareness the variety of cultures.
Aliza Martinez is a junior at New Brunswick High School