Friday, October 27th some clever students at Hillsdale, members of a club that provides microloans and business mentors for impoverished women in Guatemala, will be using their calculus skills as part of an event aimed at raising awareness about world poverty.
Since its creation three years ago, The Hillsdale Effect has fundraised over $17,000 to fund 34 microloans and business development mentors through a partnership with local nonprofit NamasteDirect and the San Mateo Rotary Club. The majority of the money for loans has been raised through a two week, school-wide “Penny Wars” competition. During these two weeks, Hillsdale advisories (akin to homerooms) compete against each other to bring in the largest sum of money in coins, all of which is then painstakingly hand counted by Hillsdale Effect members. Literally hundreds of pounds of change are collected over the two weeks. This event effectively raises money, engages the student body, and at the same time teaches them about worldwide poverty with assemblies and posters informing students that 2.5 billion people still must live on less than $2 a day and that only 1% of Guatemalans receive a college degree.
In past years, Hillsdale Effect members have mapped out an outline of “HHS” and a map of the world on the soccer field then had the entire population of the school stand up in that formation as a culminating event to the fundraising. This year Hillsdale Effect members are planning to map out a spiral shape on the field, in which students will gradually stand up to form a human wave. The San Mateo Fire Department will be providing a hook and ladder truck in order to help document the event.
Besides educating the Hillsdale student body about world wide poverty and microfinance, planning this event presents the Hillsdale Effect members with a unique opportunity to apply knowledge and skills gained in the classroom in the real world. Students apply organizational skills and communication skills to plan the event. Artistic students created a large paper maché globe for the Stand Up event. Perhaps most impressively (and much to the students’ surprise!), students were even able to apply their calculus knowledge, a rare and exciting occasion, by using Archemedean spirals to design the shape on the soccer field. Of course Hillsdale Effect members have also gained a deeper understanding of poverty and micro financing, which first requires them to acquire a better understanding of basic economics. Last summer, 9 students and their teacher, Greg Lance, visited Guatemala to learn first-hand about microfinance and poverty, employing cross-cultural and Spanish speaking skills in a very authentic way. The Stand Up event represents the efforts of The Hillsdale Effect students trying to make a difference in the world while educating themselves and their peers about world wide poverty.
Hillsdale High School, 3115 Del Monte Street, San Mateo, CA 94403; (650) 558-2699
Teacher Advisor: Greg Lance (650) 391-5485-- firstname.lastname@example.org
# # #
Hillsdale High School is a California Distinguished School and a Stanford University education partner. With the Small Learning Community (SLC) grants to further its work, Hillsdale has become a national model for comprehensive high school reform.