In recent months Coventry High students had several experiences with the diverse the world around them. It started a few months ago when the school sponsored an ethnic festival. Students were encouraged to bring in different things related to their cultural background. A variety of cultural items including food was brought in by students.
In recent months Coventry High students had several experiences with the diverse the world around them.
It started a few months ago when the school sponsored an ethnic festival. Students were encouraged to bring in different things related to their cultural background. A variety of cultural items including food was brought in by students.
In addition Coventry has also had several To the student body and teaching staff that has brought home a wealth of information about different cultures and countries. At the beginning of the school year Anjela Pakhlajian from Republic of Georgia enrolled. Georgia was a part of the former Soviet Union until its breakup and is now an independent country. She came to the US as part of the Future Leaders Exchange Program sponsored by the State Department. “I really like the people, they are very friendly,"Pakhlajian said.
"Everybody is willing to help, all the students say ‘Hi,’ and they have a lot of questions about my country. They are curious about the food and what we have in Georgia.”
"Here in the US, I really like that I can take what I want, what interests me,” Pakhlajian said.
“In Georgia we have to take mandatory subjects like science,history and math. Here I have different electives to choose from. The teachers here are more relaxed also. In Georgia they are more strict."
"I really enjoy hanging out with my friends. And I love to shop, girl stuff," she said with a smile. “And I love American roller coasters and got to ride the big ones at Cedar Point.”
“As for food I enjoy soups and salads, jambalaya, brownies, Dairy Queen and chocolate. I also like fast food but have to be careful because if I eat too much I will grow," Pakhlajian said.
In addition to getting a student from Georgia Coventry also got two teachers from France. They are part of the Franco-American teachers-In-Training Institute sponsored through the University of Akron. Certified, experienced teachers, the program gives them the opportunity to share their culture and background with their American students and colleuges.
Arnauid Mercier and Aline Filloux both are teaching Social Studies at Coventry. As with Pakhlajian, they have found differences between their home counties an the U.S. "It is interesting to compare American and French students," said Mercier. "They are not aggressive. It is nice to work in a place where students seem to have pleasure in being here."
"I am impressed with the relationship between the teachers and students," said Filloux. "They are more close with them then in France, but still respectful."
"And things here are much cheaper then in France because of the strong Euro,"Filloux said. "We are getting a chance to travel also, with trips to Columbus, Cleveland, Chicago, Washington and New York. I am ready for more road trips. Let me stay for six more months!"
Page 2 of 2 - "It is nice to stay in "real America”, said Mercier. "My host family is very nice and I enjoy living like a real American."
"The students are nice to work with," said Filloux. "If I have a problem with a word, they help me out. And while there are differences between French and American students there are also similarities. They like the same types of music and clothes and food. and there are the same types of 'drama' in school about relationships."
"There sports here are different then in France," said Mercier. "In France there are no school sports. I appreciate the fact that students have a place for sports. It gives values to the students. i wold like to see that in France."
"Here students are mixed together in classes and grade level," said Filloux They get to know each other. In France groups stay together."
"We discuss politics,culture, points of view-it is good to share culture and learn more about each other," said Mercier. " I had a lot of stereotype imagines of what Americans were like before I came here. A few are true but most are not."
"People are more real and complex then stereotypes then we think,"observed Filloux. "I have learned a lot so far."
One thing they both thoroughly agreed on. "The Cavs and LeBron are awesome!" they commented, after getting an opportunity to see the Cavs play a few weeks ago.
"This is a real positive program with Akron University," said John Hibian, Coventry High Principal. "It gives our students an opportunity to see the world from a different perspective through some else's eyes."
"It offers the teachers a small snapshot of American culture and Coventry," said his assistant, Greg Sous. "And our students benefit from their experience with the French teachers. And Anjela is an awesome student. She gives the other students a real appreciation of Georgia."
Exchanges like these help students realize that there is a whole other world beyond the area they live in. For Coventry students these diverse learning experiences have given them an opportunity to learn all about two different cultures and countries they never had little or no knowledge of.. And that is exactly what education is about.