There are a lot of ways to learn about math and geography using textbooks and maps, but the students at Forest Heights Middle School wanted to do something a little different. Christine Mignot, a teacher at the school, wanted the students to not just learn about pie charts and graphs, but life outside Little Rock, AR. And what better place in our great state to learn about life outside of it than Heifer International.
Mignot is an AVID teacher. The AVID program, according to the Little Rock School District, means “Advancement via Individual Determination,” and is a college preparatory program that provides support to first-generation college-bound students who otherwise would likely not attend college after graduating from high school.
AVID students in Mignot’s program each chose a country where Heifer works to learn about and do an in-depth study on. Through Heifer’s website, they also learned which animals were typically sent to those countries and how the animal benefited the families. Students used presentation boards to display the country’s maps, the Heifer animal facts, bar charts, tables and other demographics, which went on display in the school’s hallways. Each student was responsible for their country of choice and had the job of formally presenting their findings to the student body.
I guess you could say that they “Passed on the Gift” of knowledge. Just like Heifer farmers all over the world.
But they didn’t stop there!
In partnership with the school band led by Shauna Thomas, the kids also raised money to buy an animal for Heifer international using one of Heifer’s Peace Pipes, which collects exactly enough quarters to buy a goat.
Before their fundraiser began in December, I was asked to give a presentation about Heifer International to the students in AVID and in the band. We had a blast. I gave away Heifer buttons and other small prizes from my personal Heifer travels when they answered questions correctly or challenged each other. I was so proud of the students’ knowledge on women’s issues, hunger and poverty.
In March, I visited the school once again to collect their quarters and take some photos with the AVID students who completed Mignot’s assignment. I am so proud of these young men and women. Through their new knowledge and passion about Heifer they are indeed paving a new way, not only for themselves by learning about global issues, but for families around the world as they continue to raise money for Heifer.
Well done, class!
Story by Jessica Ford, Global Communications Manager, Heifer International
Photos courtesy of Christine Mignot