Education

WHRHS Hosts Discussion of "I Am Malala"

64ef083497d40d1de90b_image.jpg
A school-wide summer reading assignment, "I Am Malala," that was discussed by English and Social Studies classes on Thursday, Sept. 24. Credits: Denis J. Kelly
64ef083497d40d1de90b_image.jpg

 

WARREN, NJ -  Students in English and Social Studies classes in all four grades at Watchung Hills Regional High School participated on Thursday, Sept. 24, in an interdisciplinary discussion about the school-wide summer reading selection, “I Am Malala,” by 2014 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient Malala Yousafzai, 18.

Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai appeared at the Global Citizen Festival, Saturday, Sept. 26, in New York City. Included among the many who attended the festival was Watchung Hills Junior Alayna Mocarsky of Green Brook Township, who just two days before that had participated, along with her fellow classmates, in the discussion at Watchung Hills about I Am Malala.


“The Memoir, ’I Am Malala,’ was selected as the school-wide read based on its connection to current events and its cross-curricular appeal,” said Mary Ellen Phelan, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Watchung Hills.

Sign Up for E-News

English Department supervisor Marlene Stoto and Social Studies supervisor Anita Falvo, who organized the “I Am Malala” discussions, said that in addition to mixing the different subject areas -- English and Social Studies -- classes from different years were also mixed. For instance, in some cases, freshmen were mixed with juniors, sophomores were mixed with seniors, and so on. The idea was to allow for an even greater mix of perspective.

Yousafzai is a native of Pakistan who was shot in the face by Taliban terrorists after she openly advocated for the right of young girls and women in her country and around the world to get an education. She has said she believed this should be considered a universal human right. Her family ran a chain of schools in the Swat Valley of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan. In 2009, when she was 11, and while using a pen name, she wrote a blog for the BBC that reported on the efforts of the Taliban to terrorize her region. Her report also included her views about the importance of safeguarding access to education for girls and women.

On Oct. 9, 2012, while on a school bus, she was confronted by a gunman who pointed a gun at Yousafzai, and fired three times. One bullet struck her in the side of her forehead, traveled under her skin the length of her face, damaged the left side of her brain, and then went into her shoulder. Doctors operated for five hours to respond to swelling in the brain, and to remove the bullet. The bullet had become lodged in her shoulder, near her spinal cord. By Oct. 13, doctors removed her from sedation. Doctors found that she could still move all four limbs. Yousafzai was flown on Oct. 15 to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, for surgery and intensive rehabilitation. She came out of her coma on Oct. 17, and underwent further surgeries to reconstruct her skull and to restore hearing.

By January 2013, she was discharged and by March of that year, she was attending school again, this time at her family’s temporary home in England.
News of the attack received nationwide attention in Pakistan, then international attention at the United Nations and around the world. In the United States, celebrities such as Madonna, spoke in favor of her cause, the right of girls and women to an education. U.S. political leaders, including President Barack Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also spoke out in favor of her cause and in awe of her courage.
By October 2013, a year after the attack, Yousafzai met with Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters in the Oval Office of the White House. She also published the book that Watchung Hills students read this summer. Its full title is: “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.”

In 2013, she was also named among the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” by Time Magazine, and was awarded the Pakistan National Youth Peace Prize. She spoke at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, was awarded Honorary Citizenship in Canada, and received an honorary doctorate at The University of King’s College, Halifax, Nova Scotia.  

She was named co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi of India, who has advocated against oppressive child labor practices. She has been interviewed about her book, her experiences, and her advocacy for education and empowerment for girls and women on several high profile U.S. television outlets, including CNN, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

The White House has announced that after the end of President Obama’s term of office, he and First Lady Michelle Obama would champion efforts to help adolescent girls around the globe through an initiative called, “Let Girl Learn.” For more information about this initiative, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/letgirlslearn.

 

Watchung Hills students viewed recordings of the interviews with Jon Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres during their combined English and Social Studies classes on Sept. 24.
Literature and Social Studies teachers then started the students through a discussion about the book, about the story of Yousafzai’s struggle against the Taliban terrorists, and about her staunch advocacy of the right for girls and women to get an education.
The students were separated into smaller groups to facilitate discussions, and were presented with starter prompt questions and quotations from other advocates against violence, oppression and the denial of rights, including Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Margaret Mead, Elie Wiesel, Martin Niemoller and Nelson Mandela, among others.
Discussion points and opinions were captured on break-out easel sheets and posted on a student-sharing computer site, for reference and prompts during future discussions.
One of the exercises students engaged in on Thursday was to take words found in the quotes of the great leaders, Gandhi King, Wiesel, Mead, Niemoller and Mandela, and fashion them into a “sound poem.” The assignment was to write a poem that captured the feeling they had in response to the experiences they read about in the book, and the subsequent discussions about, “I Am Malala.”

English Supervisor Stoto and Social Studies Supervisor Falvo said that they hoped that the Yousafzai story would yield a variety of future discussion points that went beyond merely English and Social Studies classes. There could be a science/medicine angle because of Yousafzai’s injuries and recovery. There might be angles for geography classes, for language and culture sharing classes, for art classes, for current affairs classes, and for discussions about bullying, terrorism, the empowerment of girls and women, equal rights, human rights, governmental responses, United Nations responses, and the overall importance of education.


In addition, Stoto and Falvo said that for psychology classes, there could be future discussions about the emotional impact of being bullied, of being injured in an assault, of being forced to flee one’s home and become a political refugee. Then for English classes, Stoto said there could be future discussions about non-fiction writing, about journalism, about becoming an author, and becoming internationally famous. Falvo added more discussions could be stimulated in classes talking about social activism, about communication and about community organizing.

Students were asked Thursday if they could think of an issue about which they were so passionate, they would be willing to stand up to a bully, stand up to a criminal, or stand up to a terrorist.


Teachers leading discussions reminded older students of the “Power of One,” which had been a central organizing theme at Watchung Hills for several years. Annually, Watchung Hills students hold discussions, special events, school-wide assemblies and “White Out” days against bullying.


Stoto and Falvo said that going forward, teachers will be looking for more ways to draw into their curriculum relevant references to “I AM Malala,” and what students learned and discussed about Malala Yousefzai.
 

 

Photo caption: From left, seated:  Junior Nick Ugarte of Warren Township, Freshman Victoria Pantagis of Green Brook Township, Freshman Maddie Murphy of Watchung, Sophomore Christina Chavez of Long Hill Township, and Senior Jordan Green of Stirling; and from left, standing, English Supervisor Marlene Stoto, English teacher Jana Battiloro, Social Studies teacher Jamie Lott-Jones, Social Studies teacher Cara Yuknis, English teacher Dan Larkins, Sophomore Michael Waiman of Green Brook Township, Senior Colin Cunningham of Watchung, Junior Alayna Mocarsky of Green Brook Township, and Social Studies Supervisor Anita Falvo.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

Bee Day at Hanson Park!!

May 20, 2018

Please join the Hanson Park Conservancy on Saturday, June 23rd for Bee Day at Hanson Park!  At 2:00 PM Grant Stiles from Stiles Honey will be sharing his knowledge of bees with his presentation, “Fundamentals of Beekeeping and the Importance of Honey Bees in Our Society.”  Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy the beautiful surroundings as Mr. Stiles answers all of your ...

Golf Outing On May 26 Benefits Retired Racehorses

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, N.J. —May 29, will mark Standardbred Retirement Foundation's (SRF) 26th Annual Charity Golf Outing being held at the beautiful Battleground Country Club in Manalapan, N.J.

This much anticipated event is held in conjunction with SRF's online auction which will open for bidding beginning Friday, May 25 and end at 7 p.m. on  Thursday, June 7. The outing ...

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Belmar Mayor Grants ‘Larry the Lobster’ His Freedom to Kick Off New Jersey Seafood Festival

May 19, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar Mayor Brian Magovern wasn’t going to let the rough ocean surf and high winds get in his way yesterday of pardoning “Larry the Lobster” to begin the New Jersey Seafood Festival.

Instead, Magovern moved the May 18 event from the Fifth Avenue beach to the quieter waters of the Shark River Inlet. Accompanied by a small group of borough officials and ...

Food to Travel For - Two Jersey Shore Dining Hot Spots in National Limelight for Specialty Eats

BELMAR, NJ — Two Belmar specialty eateries have made the national food-hopping map. Coney Waffle Ice Cream and Sweet Shop on Ocean Avenue and Hoagitos in Belmar Plaza are featured this month on television shows touting what makes them stand out from the rest.

The over-the-top ice cream creations of Coney Waffle are in the spotlight in Viceland’s “The Ice Cream Show” in ...

WHRHS Baseball: Roxbury Baseball Powers Past Watchung Hills

May 19, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – The Roxbury High School baseball team won its 14th game on Friday, rolling over Watchung Hills 9-1 at home.

Offensively, Roxbury did its damage early, scoring twice in the second inning and then five more times in the third to take an early 7-0 lead.

Roxbury’s Will Findlay had two hits and Donovan Brady, Andy Axelson and Brian Dachowski all had base hits. In ...

WHRHS Boys Lacrosse: Bridgewater Upsets Watchung Hills in OT for SCT Title

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - So close. The Watchung Hills boys lacrosse team fell to Bridgewater-Raritan, in overtime, as the Panthers won a fourth-straight Somerset County Tournament title on Saturday, 5-4, at the Torpey Athletic Complex.

Watchung Hills took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Gavin DeFuria, Connor James, and Joe Rica. 

The last game the ...

Hillsborough Man Sentenced for Bribing Doctors in $100M Test Referral Scheme

May 18, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – Five individuals including a Hillsborough resident  were sentenced Friday for bribing doctors in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running and elaborate scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, its president and numerous associates, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Doug Hurley, 38, of Hillsborough and Kevin ...

North Plainfield Middle School Hosts Holocaust and Genocide Open House

NORTH  PLAINFIELD, NJ - All are invited to the 2018 North Plainfield Middle School Holocaust/Genocide Open House on Thursday, May 17 at 6 p.m. Students and staff will be on hand to serve as docents for a unique exhibit.

It is a museum in a school, created by the school, constructed by the school and for everyone in the community. featuring  over 400 posters, memorabilia and artifacts ...

WHRHS Boys Lacrosse: Bridgewater Upsets Watchung Hills in OT for SCT Title

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - So close. The Watchung Hills boys lacrosse team fell to Bridgewater-Raritan, in overtime, as the Panthers won a fourth-straight Somerset County Tournament title on Saturday, 5-4, at the Torpey Athletic Complex.

Watchung Hills took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Gavin DeFuria, Connor James, and Joe Rica. 

The last game the ...

Phone App Leads to Arrest of Arizona Fugitive

                                                                              

BOUND BROOK, NJ – A local resident wanted on a fugitive warrant from Arizona and Washington was tracked down ...

Podcast: The Royal Wedding Through the Eyes of a Brit

May 19, 2018

In our May 18 podcast, Giles Bootheway, a British citizen who teaches at St. Bonaventure University, shares his thoughts on the Royal Wedding with TAPinto Greater Olean Co-editor Richard Lee.

PLAY

Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox. 

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get ...

Charity Golf Tournament to Benefit Parkland Cares and the Jason Taylor Reading Room, May 17 -Travels Charity Spotlight -

PARKLAND, FL - Parkland Cares will hold a Charity Golf Tournament on Thursday, May 17 at Parkland Golf & Country Club, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Jason Taylor Reading Room and Parkland Cares.  The event is presented by Steven Douglas and former NFL player and Hall of Famer Jason Taylor will be in attendance.

Howard Dvorkin, CPA, is chairman of Debt.com and a 30-year ...

Food to Travel For - Two Jersey Shore Dining Hot Spots in National Limelight for Specialty Eats

BELMAR, NJ — Two Belmar specialty eateries have made the national food-hopping map. Coney Waffle Ice Cream and Sweet Shop on Ocean Avenue and Hoagitos in Belmar Plaza are featured this month on television shows touting what makes them stand out from the rest.

The over-the-top ice cream creations of Coney Waffle are in the spotlight in Viceland’s “The Ice Cream Show” in ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...