Creek hosts Honduran students


BEAVERCREEK — Some gracious Jacob Coy Middle School families hosted high school students from Camasca, Honduras for one week this summer and showed them around the area and took them to popular destinations.

The Honduran students were making a pit stop on their way home from a three-day robotics competition in Washington D.C. which focused on water security with students from 157 other countries. The trip was sponsored by a local non-profit organization, Shoulder to Shoulder.

Jacob Coy Middle School’s Spanish teacher Angel Allen teamed up with Shoulder to Shoulder after traveling with the group during a recent trip to Intibuca, Honduras for community work. After her trip, Allen knew she wanted to host the Honduran students in Beavercreek and get them familiar with her Spanish students.

With a little planning and after video chatting sessions between the Coy Middle School Spanish students and the Honduran students, it was able to happen. By video chatting between the students, the Coy Middle School students were able to practice their Spanish, since the Honduran students do not speak English.

“These Honduran students changed my life. I was able to see how they’re happy with so little,” Allen said. “I want my Beavercreek students to find value out of the small things and recognize that you can create your own happiness.”

Shoulder to Shoulder was started by Dr. Jeff Heck of the University of Cincinnati Family Medicine Department in 1990 with the help of local Dayton families and community members of Santa Lucia. The group’s mission began with providing basic healthcare and education to the children of the Honduras community.

Prior to this organizations’ help, many of the children quit school in the sixth grade. Now, students are completing high school and, like this group of students, traveling to America. Shoulder to Shoulder has helped over 69,000 Honduran children, raised over $40,000 and has been in creation for over 25 years.

The Honduran students come from poverty stricken areas that do not have electricity, internet and some are without basic necessities. Many of them have never played video games, shopped in a shopping mall or have a smartphone. So, for them to be able to compete in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Global Robotics Challenge in Washington D.C. was astounding and almost unheard of. But with the help of others, they built their first robot, obtained a passport and set out for America for the first time. Many of them had not ever left their hometowns. The students had two weeks to build the robot and prepare a presentation for the competition.

“The Global Robotics Challenge is an annual event sponsored by FIRST Global, a non-profit organization with the mission to bring together students from different backgrounds while encouraging STEM skills,” Shoulder to Shoulder President and local attorney Wayne Waite said. “The Challenge is unique in that, even though the teams of students are competing, they often also help each other or give each other advice. It’s truly a collaborative experience that creates a supportive, intellectual, and fun event.”

During the visit to Beavercreek, the Honduran students joined other local robotics teams at the middle school so they could interact and learn from one another.

The Honduras Team: Coach and Math Teacher, Daniel Marquez; Assistant Coach and English Teacher, Nora Diaz; Team Mentor, Alan Ostrow; Honduras Team Students: Daniela Margarita Alvarado Ayala, Catherine Giannella Bautista Baca, Edy Dionisio Bautista Diaz, Hacknel Alexis Reyes Del Cid, Jerson Enmanuel Martinez Diaz, Eric Rosendo Sierra Lainez, Gessler Mauricio Hernandez Milla, Melissa Floribeth Lemus Portillo and Gerson Misael Quintero Quintano.

There were 160 nations that competed, which included high school STEM students from countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The Honduran students achieved 40th among 163 different teams (the top 25 percent) and third among all teams from America.

Beavercreek does not have a FIRST Robotics team yet. However, the school will be creating a team for 2018. The goal is to continue to foster the relationship with Beavercreek and Honduran students by having the Honduran students serve as mentors during the creation of the Beavercreek team’s robot next year.

Along with Angel Allen and her husband, the other Beavercreek families that hosted the foreign students are the Barkers, Andarys, Alliods and Hays families.

“This was a great experience for the Coy Middle School students to have to use their Spanish and explore the language in an authentic experience,” Allen said.

During the week visit, not only did were they able to connect with the Beavercreek students face-to-face, but they were able to experience what our area has to offer. They visited Kings Island, Young’s Dairy, The Boonshoft Museum, and the Greene County Airport.

“The impact this experience had on the Beavercreek students is almost hard to put into words. I had the opportunity to see my students change for the better,” Allen said. “I knew they would be forever changed by the experience, as I was when I participated in activities such as this.”

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Submitted photos Jacob Coy Middle School families play host to high school students from Camasca, Honduras.
http://www.beavercreeknewscurrent.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/49/2017/08/web1_HondurasinDC.jpgSubmitted photos Jacob Coy Middle School families play host to high school students from Camasca, Honduras.

During their visit to the United States they stayed in Beavercreek and then visited Washington DC to attend the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Global Robotics Challenge.
http://www.beavercreeknewscurrent.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/49/2017/08/web1_Honduras.jpgDuring their visit to the United States they stayed in Beavercreek and then visited Washington DC to attend the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Global Robotics Challenge.

By Danielle Coots

For the News-Current

Danielle Coots is a freelance writer for Greene County News.