In November of 2012 the Ayusa headquarters office received a number of amazing submissions for this year's International Education Week contest. The Ayusa students who participated in this exciting event sponsored by the Department of State sent in applications that proved Ayusa students are being excellent junior ambassadors and achieving great things through cultural exchange.
From a number of remarkable entries our selection committee chose three contestants who really stood out from the crowd. Thank you to everyone who submitted applications for your hard work, dedication, and creativity!
1st place: Narudate Saroh (Thailand)
2nd place: Johanna Franke (Germany)
3rd place: Raymond Suonyir (Ghana)
1st: Narudate Saroh, who goes by Rid, is this year’s IEW Contest winner! Living in Arcade, New York with the Kohlhagen family, Rid presented to about 320 people at his high school as well as the Kohlhagen’s. What impressed the judges was Rid’s dedication to creating an informative yet entertaining presentation that engaged his audience from start to finish and the impact his presentation made on his audience. Rid’s well-rounded presentation incorporated a PowerPoint of facts and photos depicting Thailand and its people and culture, videos, a variety of props ranging from currency to Thai seasoning packets, and an excellent flute performance.
Dressed in a traditional Thai costume, Rid brought his peers who’ve had little experience outside of their small rural community on a fun, cultural journey through Thailand. Consultant English Teacher Kathy Silvarali described that even “students who never smile or get excited about learning were clapping, singing along, and cheering for Rid! We all loved learning about Thailand!”
Rid began gathering props and brainstorming ideas for his presentation before his departure to the U.S. During the weeks preceding IEW, Rid devoted a lot of time to rehearse his presentation. Although Rid admittedly struggled with his English at the beginning of the program year, English teacher Janice Fisher remarked that Rid’s presentation had “very few errors in spoken English.” Further, the impact Rid’s presentation had on the students was so positive that Ms. Fisher asked Rid to present in three more of her classes. He was very enthusiastic and even wrote students’ names in Thai at the request of a class and sang Thailand's national anthem a capella when someone asked how it went. Overall, this experience helped Rid see how his hard work and organization translated into a great accomplishment that has made him a more confident young man.
2nd: Johanna, nicknamed Pauline, is a student living with the Boger family in Dickens, Texas. Being placed in small town in a high school with a very small number of students, Pauline’s efforts to reach out to as many people as possible, about 220 in total, really stood out. Pauline contacted various organizations and groups with whom her host family is associated in order to present on her home country of Germany. She scheduled and carried out trips to various high schools, a church and senior citizens home, several of which were far from where she lived.
According to those who attended her presentations, she spoke articulately, was well prepared and organized, and thoroughly engaged them on all things German. She included traditional topics like the German language, school system, political system and holidays, but she also expanded on topics that she knew would be of interest to her audience members such as a typical day for her, transportation and teenagers and driving. Pauline was thrilled to share her culture with others, learned how to become a better presenter and gained more confidence in herself.
3rd: Raymond from Ghana, who lives with the Graham family in Springfield, Oregon, presented in several classes and in youth group about the Ghanaian economic and political system, family unit, cultural values and history.His audience was enthralled by the information in his presentation, which was evident in the long question and answer periods that followed. Raymond also tailored his presentation to his audience. One attendee in his youth group noted, "He used the common thread of faith to share his experience from home in a way that moved us all." Through his presentations, Raymond has been able to overcome his fear of public speaking and to build even more friendships.