"Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Gandhi once said. This short yet powerful quote has influenced many groups and individuals such as ourselves to help people around the world. In our International Studies class, we’ve done a lot of work that has prepared us for this trip; from organizing fundraisers to researching the culture and politics of El Salvador. To many of our classmates, this was the highlight of our High School career and we have all gained many things from this experience that will carry on with us through out our lives.
Four years ago, Hull High School seniors Brianna Duhaime and Catherine Ashley created a club named Project Humanitarian Involvement that was dedicated to the principle of helping those less fortunate than themselves. The students first endeavor was raising money for a college student’s tuition in Zimbabwe. They quickly reached that goal and then became aware of a humanitarian crisis in Sudan. After educating fellow students about this issue, they sent many letters to president Bush asking for his attention to this issue. Some of them even journeyed to Washington, D.C. to rally for support of this cause. This became a student driven organization, which evolved three years later into a course at Hull High School: Honors International Studies.
The next year the group sent six students to El Salvador to build houses with Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village (GV) program. The GV volunteer program consists of short-term house-building trips designed to give concerned people the opportunity to observe and contribute to Habitat’s work first hand. Working alongside homeowners and local volunteers, team members built a true “global village” of love, homes, families, communities and hope! Working in El Salvador was a life-changing experience for all of those who participated that year.
This year we ventured back to El Salvador with a team of 16 people. These students learned about development challenges and Habitat’s mission to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness worldwide. The team worked alongside homeowners, international volunteers and local volunteers of all backgrounds, races and religions. Learning about El Salvador’s culture, language and social practices as well as developing new skills and confidence were additional benefits.
Each team member has gained a unique set of experiences and memories. This journey also provided an opportunity for students to apply skills they learned in school such as geography, cultural history, and Spanish as well as acquire new life skills that can only be obtained through an experience such as this one. The students embarked on the “road less traveled” and attained an invaluable experience while helping to make the world a better place. This project is truly a living example of Margaret Meade’s inspirational quote, “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. It is the only thing that ever has.” The committed people that you see and read about on the following pages will go on to great futures and continue to have a positive impact on the world. We are the Hull High Team.