Study Break: 'Our students are aware of the need to give back'

February 16, 2014 

Kristen Karszes is a 10th-grade teacher at Hilton Head Island High School.


Name: Kristen Karszes

School: Hilton Head Island High School

Grade: 10th

Years teaching: 19

What is your class working on now?

Right now my 10th graders are taking part in a wonderful opportunity that presented itself to me through the Foundation for Educational Excellence. The foundation presented me with the Dr. Wayne Carbiener Above and Beyond Grant in the amount of $1,000 to be spent on my students. With such a fabulous opportunity, I thought, "What a great way to incorporate a community service project into learning." I decided to read the novel "Trafficked" by Kim Purcell with my class. This novel is up for a South Carolina Young Adult Book Award and is about a young girl from Moldova who has been exploited by a ring of human traffickers to get her from Moldova to Los Angeles. Her parents were killed in a bombing, so she is very vulnerable to be coerced into what she thinks will be a wonderful job as a nanny for a Russian family. However, things aren't always what they appear.

I bought copies of the novel for my classes to read and also partnered up with our media specialist, Karen Metropolis, to pay for travel expenses to bring the author to our school. In conjunction with festivities for Read Across America Day, we will host Kim Purcell at our school March 5. She will talk to all students at Hilton Head Island High School, as well as do some smaller workshops with my students in particular. The author has also agreed to Skype with my students as we get deeper into the novel before she visits with us in person.

To give my students background information on human trafficking, we have been reading many nonfiction articles on the types of human trafficking that occur, how it occurs, and most importantly, what can be done in awareness of it. As an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme school, our students are aware of the need to give back to their local and global community, so they are very excited to take their knowledge of human trafficking and to come up with a community service project. We are still trying to figure out what that piece will be, but it will be decided upon by them.

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