Located in Worcester, MA, University Park Campus School is a small high school that runs from 7th to 12th grade. With only twelve rooms and two-hundred students, many would think that this school has a problem getting recognized. Despite our lack of resources and limited space, University Park is becoming a nationwide role model, proving to many that more money does not necessarily mean better education. Many visitors fly in from all parts of the country to roam our ancient hallways and climb our squeaky stairs, often asking "How can we replicate this sort of teacher-student relationship and overall educational atmosphere?" And while those visitors are asking how to improve education in America, a small book group is asking how to improve education in other countries.
Shannon Hammond is a teacher at University Park. Although she is a math teacher, she spends time after school every week to organize a book group related to humanitarian ideas. Some of the books we have covered include THE END OF POVERTY by Jeffery Sachs, WE ARE ALL THE SAME by Jim Wooten, and MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS by Tracy Kidder. As you can see, these books target the common theme of revealing the struggles of impoverished countries. We are learning a lot about the world we live in and more importantly, how we have the power stop these issues. The book club started with only 8 skeptical juniors, but now it holds 25 eager juniors and seniors. We are all very interested in the epidemics, pandemics, governmental issues, environmental issues, and genocides that are occurring as we speak.
To learn more about these issues we wish to attend the Earth Institute seminar being held this year at Columbia University. We ask for this grant money to fund our trip. We feel that this seminar will open up even more possibilities for our small book club, and the information we get from it will spread throughout our community. This small group has accomplished a lot in the past, such as holding an Aids Awareness Day which included the donning of red arm bands in respect for the children impacted by the disease. As our school already proves, size does not matter to make a difference. Please make this good investment for we will spread on the information to our peers, teachers, and even the visitors that come by. We look forward to hearing from you.