Facilitator Daniel Rymer with GCXN students
Facilitator Daniel Rymer with GCXN students

At the beginning of the school year, I wrote about Global Connections, a group of sophomore students at The Olympia Schools in Hanoi, Vietnam, and senior students at La Porte High School in La Porte, Texas, who initially began their interactions by studying Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (GCXN, Part 1 and GCXN, Part 2). However, as their familiarity with each other grew, they asked to take on a much more monumental project: to write a book that explores their cultural similarities and differences and that provides a platform for their voices to be heard. They were undeterred by our warnings that a project of that magnitude would take patience, focus, hard work, and stamina. Well, as anyone with any experience with teenagers knows, when they put their minds to something, they do it. And they certainly did!

GCXN Working dinner
GCXN Working dinner

Their eBook is the product of seven months of collaboration where grade 10 X-cel students at TOS worked with their facilitator Daniel Rymer in class and AP students at LPHS stayed three nights a week from 3-7pm (sustained–or perhaps bribed, I’m not sure–by the dinners I cooked for them), followed by a three-month learning curve as we negotiated the legal aspects of publishing such a work, found a publisher, formatted the manuscript, and published their work. Special thanks to La Porte’s Dr. Linda Wadleigh, David Knowles, Todd Schoppe, and Dr. Kade Griffin for helping us get the technology support we needed, and to Head of Schools at The Olympia Schools Christopher McDonald for helping set up the initial collaboration between the two groups of students!

This book is their labor of love. We facilitators have left their ideas, expression, and discoveries their own. The stories, the joy and sadness, the humor, the wonder, and the learning are their voices–a true Teenage Manifesto of the 21st century. We have learned much from them and hope you will, as well.

Their book, Reflections: Global Student Voices of the 21st Century by Global Connections, can be found now on all major online sites including Barnes & Noble, KoboGoogle Play, and iTunes (search your store using Reflections Global Connections). It is coming soon to Book Country, a Penguin division hosting publications from our Booktango publishers, and Amazon. I’ll update when it is available on all sites.

All proceeds from the sale of their book will be donated to the student-chosen charity International Rescue Committee (IRC), which provides humanitarian aid such as medical assistance and refuge, as well as helps restore education, economic well-being, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. IRC is active in over 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities.

Student authors include:

The Olympia Schools, Hanoi, Vietnam, Class of 2018:

GCXN: The Olympia School 10 X-cel
GCXN: The Olympia School 10 X-cel

Quoc Hung, Minh Anh, Duc Minh, Trà My, Minh Châu, Dang Kieu Trang, Cao Quy Bao Tran, Minh Ngoc, Le Minh Duc, Hoang Anh, Ha Anh, Vu Thach Anh, Trinh Hoang Lan, Ta Tuan Phong, Ha Phuong, Anh Phuong, Trang Linh

 

La Porte High School, La Porte, TX, Class of 2016:

Julie Agarrado, McCade Fletcher, Alondra Segovia, Ivie Rocha, Donald Giffin, Brent Jackson, Bailey Webster, Natalie Hoots, Cassie Allred, Laken Parker, Charlene Rosenlund, Sara Longoria, Maggie Simmons, Toni Bonvillain.

Facilitator Eveline M Bailey with GCXN grads
Facilitator Eveline M Bailey with GCXN grads, all smiles in spite of the flooding that kept them from graduating on the stadium field.