Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
Thursday, July 19, 2018 9:51 am
June 6, 2012

Stepping into summer

by Rachel Auerbach, Online Managing Editor
School's almost out, and students can practically taste summer in the air. Pools are open, seniors (dare I say alumni?) are already lying in the sand at beach week and flip-flops have become the footwear of choice. But for some Blazers, summer means a time to travel, learn something new or gain new experiences. Here is a look at what four adventurous Blazers will spend their 10 weeks doing.

Travel bug

Even though it's summer, junior Adam Kadir will still be taking classes -- in India. Kadir will travel to Pune, India, on a scholarship from the State Department, which sponsors trips around the world as part of the National Security Language Initiative. The department's goal is to encourage motivated students to learn less-commonly taught languages.

Kadir will stay in Pune for six weeks and attend an Indian high school in order to learn Hindi, out of personal interest. "My love of languages was the main reason I wanted to do this. I've always wanted to learn Hindi, and it's a great gateway opportunity to learn other languages, too," he says.

Over the course of six weeks, Kadir will take 120 hours of classes and will travel through India with his host family and the 19 other students in the program. Although the transition will be difficult, Kadir is optimistic about learning the language. "It's going to be a challenge, but I think with immersion and work I can accomplish my goal," he says.

Kadir also looks forward to experiencing a new culture, especially one that is nowhere near home. "I want to see what it's like to live and attend school in a foreign country," he says. "It'll be so exciting to meet and live with people from so far away."

Ken-ya believe this?

Junior Naomi Martinez will be traveling to Kenya, where she will work with an organization that gives aid to orphans. Courtesy of Naomi Martinez
Junior Naomi Martinez will be traveling to Kenya, where she will work with an organization that gives aid to orphans.
Junior Naomi Martinez will also spend part of her summer at a school, but she will be a teacher, instead of a student. Martinez will travel to Kenya with her grandmother to teach English at an elementary school. While in Kenya, Martinez and her grandmother will stay with her grandmother's friend in the small village of Nakuru.

Aside from teaching, Martinez will also be helping out with an organization called Voiceless Children, which provides resources to orphans whose parents have died from AIDS. Martinez looks forward to the new experience, but predicts that it will take some getting used to. "I'm really excited but I'm also kind of nervous because it's going to be a complete culture shock and I'm also going to be in a pretty small village," she says.

In order to prepare for the trip, Martinez has been collecting books and other supplies to donate to Voiceless Children. She has also been collecting as much information as possible in preparation for the trip. "I've read about it and seen a lot of videos, but I think when I get there it’s going to be a lot different," she says.

But in the four weeks that Martinez is in Kenya, junior Natnaree Phosrinak will have already gone back in school.

Back-to-back school

Junior Natnaree Phosrinak plans to go to Disney World in Florida to make the most of her 18 days of summer. Courtesy of Huffington Post
Junior Natnaree Phosrinak plans to go to Disney World in Florida to make the most of her 18 days of summer.
For junior Natnaree Phosrinak, summer is only a mere 18 days. Phosrinak, an exchange student from Thailand, will go back to school immediately after she returns to Thailand. During her short summer here, however, Phosrinak plans to take advantage of it by having a true American experience. "With my host family, I'm going to Disney World in Florida," she says.

According to Phosrinak, summer vacation in Thailand is from March to May. Like summer in the United States, summer in Thailand involves cooling off with water. "April is the hottest month and we go out and splash in the water," she says. "If you don't want to get wet you have to stay inside."

Even though Phosrinak will not have a long break during the months of June, July and August, she believes that she will be fine because she has been able to experience a different culture this past year. "I feel like this year is my whole free year. It's enough," she says.

Sustainable living

Courtesy of Save Nick's Organic Farm
Senior Derek Burtraw will spend his summer as an intern at Nick’s Farm (above), a local organic farm that grows vegetables and educates students about organic gardening.
Other Blazers, however, will stay busy over the summer. Senior Derek Burtraw will spend his summer as an intern at Nick's Farm, a local organic farm that grows vegetables and educates student groups about organic gardening and the food production process. He became interested in this opportunity after a representative came to his horticulture class to recruit volunteers. As a volunteer, Burtraw's primary responsibilities will be to maintain the garden and care for chickens. He will also help out with educating student groups that come to the farm.

Through the experience, Burtraw hopes to gain insight into organic farming. "I hope to learn more about larger scale organic farming and food production," he says. Although Burtraw is appreciative of the opportunity, he foresees some challenges. "I am least excited about working long hours in mid-day heat and sun," he says.

But regardless of whether Blazers are traveling the world or staying local, there are numerous ways to transform a boring summer into a meaningful and memorable one. Take the time to volunteer, read a good book or just sit by the pool and let the stresses of the school year ooze away with the sun.

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