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Seven thousand miles weren't enough to keep our students from communicating with young Syrian photographers currently refuged in Jordan, thanks to a project called SF Portals. The group Shared Spaces set up numerous portals throughout the city, one of which is right in our Hayes Valley neighborhood, connecting participants to similar portals from other parts of the world, including Afghanistan, Mexico, and Honduras. Carrie Denning, who helped create the project, noted: “The idea of the portal is we create this kind of Narnia door... That’s always existed in people’s minds—this wormhole to a distant land.”
This video conversation was part of a larger project that aimed to raise awareness and funds for Syrian refugees. Under the guidance of Histoire-Géographie teacher Mouna Harifi and Director of Student Life Leslie Adams, 8th grade students researched the conflict in Syria and what students here at French American could do to help. "I felt that people needed to know about it more," said 8th grader Annabel Menendez. "A lot of kids didn't know much about the crisis before this year."
In October, a representative of the International Rescue Committee visited campus to discuss the refugee crisis with students in both middle and high school. Through bake sales and penny drives that began earlier this year, students raised nearly $1,000 to donate to the IRC and benefit Syrian refugees. "This school is all about being in contact with others in the world, whether they're in crisis or not," said 8th grader Ylva Bosemark. "The fact that we communicated and were able to help people across the globe really fits in with what we're taught here."
The students also presented their project at the Global Issues Network conference, and educated their peers about the crisis during an assembly with the entire middle school.
View NBC's coverage of the interaction and cameos by our students.