Letter to the Editor

Help a deserving student study abroad

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

To the Editor:

Throughout the years I have supported many different and important "causes."

Everyone has their passions and the desire to help others in whatever way they can. We all do what we can to assist wherever we feel our help is needed. I write today to ask for your help in providing a life changing experience for one local teenager. I hope you will read this note and consider helping make a difference in the life of this young lady.

Jasmine Like is a junior at Greencastle High School. She is active in her school, church, and community. She is a Cumulative Honor Student, and is a member of the following organizations: Student Council, G Club, Swimming and Diving, Classics, Dance Team, and Spanish Club. Jasmine works part-time at Subway, and has helped many local community organizations.

She is one busy girl!

Jasmine was encouraged by her high school Spanish teacher to apply to the Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Language for High School students (http://www.indiana.edu/~iuhpfl/default.htm).

The selection process is based on personal and academic merit. The program attracts a large number of candidates and is very competitive. Since 1962, the IU Honors Program has been sending groups off into the world to learn both language and culture.

Miss Like is the only Putnam County student selected for the seven-week program this year; and will study in Spain or Mexico. Each student is placed with a local family selected by the coordinators abroad. The families, chosen on the basis of their willingness to help the American students learn the culture and language of the foreign country and to welcome them as their own children, receive a compensation for their generous hospitality. Most of the students maintain a warm friendship with their host families for many years.

Intensive study conducted in the foreign language is the focal point of the program.

Students are taught by qualified teachers in classes established exclusively for the Honors Program participants. The emphasis is on improving speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, to which end a no-English rule prevails while the students are abroad. Formal learning involves daily morning classes and activities. Each class has about ten students, which allows active participation in grammar, culture, conversation, literature and phonetics. The students write a diary in the foreign language and have homework assignments. Informal learning comes about through singing, acting, dancing, sports, artistic performances, and field trips into the surrounding regions.

This selective and prestigious program has many associated costs. The IU Honors Program fee for this trip is approximately $6,000. Many fundraising events will be hosted during the next three months to assist Jasmine in generating the necessary funds for study abroad this summer. Without this fundraising, there is no chance for Jasmine to recognize her dream to study abroad. The funding for this trip is simply not available to Jasmine. This money must be raised during the next two months in order to assure Jasmine's spot in the program.

Students that apply to this program must first pass a language test, then prepare a dossier, and finally have an interview. Jasmine passed the test, and her dossier was so impressive that she was accepted into the program without an interview. She deserves this opportunity, and I applaud her desire to learn about other cultures while expanding her own sense of global awareness. Please consider making a donation so this young person can take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

Donations can be made to the Greencastle High School Spanish Club, Jasmine Like, 910 East Washington Street, Greencastle, IN 46135.

Thank you for taking an interest.

Deb Salman