Virrey Solis School

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Fusing Bilingualism and Franciscan Values

Fusing Bilingualism and Franciscan Values

SPEAK in Cerro Norte

The formation of our students isn’t limited to the four walls of the classroom, but rather extends outside the frontiers of the campus, where students put learned theory into practice. Based on this notion, we at Virrey Solis School highly value service learning.

This year, the English Department and Pastoral Department have teamed up in order to promote Franciscan values and bilingualism in the Bogotano community, resulting in the creation of a new project called SPEAK (Student Promotion of English and Kindness).

SPEAK, whose objective is to promote foreign language learning (in this case, English) and form ties between Virrey Solis and one of the most vulnerable communities in Bogota, is a program organized directly by the students in all aspects, from the planning of activities to their execution.

Every Satruday, a group of students from 10th grade travel to the neighborhood Cerro Norte, which is located above la Séptima on Calle 162, to teach English to a group of 30 local children between the ages of 8 and 12. Based in a didactic pedagogical model, the students teach practical communication skills through the development of games and fun activities.

Thanks to the pragmatic design of the program, the students of Virrey Solis and the kids from Cerro Norte continue to form relationships and create an atmosphere of trust and companionship.

The Virrey students not only learn Franciscan values from this hands-on experience, but also get to take part in constructing a brighter future for Colombia, one in which cultural integration and a higher valuation of humanity play a large role in the structure of the country.

In the context of a fearful Cold War United States of America, John F. Kennedy challenged the country’s citizens, directing them to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Now, in a time of hope and growth in Colombia, the students at Virrey Solis School are answering this call.

The Students who participate in the program are: Maria Jose Cely (10A), Camilo Sanabria (10B), Jose Fernando Motta (10B), Santiago Angel (10C), Juan Sebastian Serje (10C), Mery Vanessa Peña (10C), and German Verdugo (10C).

By: Stephen Gurney

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