Dear family, friends, past champions and followers of the blog,
Thank you for following along on our journey, we are very happy to have you with us, though these words will never do justice to our experiences.
My name is Melanie Manson, a first year champion. I heard about this program about a year ago when Dr. Joanna Sheppard told me about it, I thought it was a very interesting and appealing opportunity and completely outside my comfort zone, which is exactly why I knew I should apply and see what happens.
Fast forward a year and here I am, along side many other fantastic champions, moving into our second week of working in the schools. I have had the pleasure of working at Jennings Primary School with my teaching partner Nick, who has very graciously shared his extensive knowledge of the school, teaching and the program with me. He continues to impress me with his dedication, patience and passion for teaching. The poor guy is also forced to listen to me sing along to every song all the way to and from school everyday, he deserves a medal.
Each and every day when we arrive at Jennings we are greeted by students who are so eager to give us hugs, carry our equipment, play shame shame and have races. The children are so welcoming and make you feel like the most important person in the world. They enthusiastically ask us when we will be going to their class, which helps us, knowing they are just as excited to learn as we are to teach.
During the day we are fortunate enough to go into classes and teach the students valuable life skills using our custom made lesson plans that the first year champions have worked so diligently on. We get to be in the company of so many hard working Antiguan teachers and we get to learn from them and with them.
We come home from school covered in dirt and sweat, we put our equipment away and hangout in the pool with our colleagues to talk shop until it is time for our nightly curriculum meeting and red couch discussion. Though tonight was a little different, we skipped the meetings and instead were lucky enough to attend a cricket match.
Dr. Sheppard was able to get us tickets to a game, where we learned the ins and outs of the sport. After the game we had the privilege of going on to the field and getting pictures with the team.
I am very excited and optimistic about the weeks to come. This has been an eye opening experience and it would not be possible without the passion and dedication of Dr. Sheppard. I would like to thank Dr. Sheppard for creating and sustaining this program, none of us would be able to have this hands on experience if it wasn’t for you, so thank you for allowing us to be apart of this program and legacy. Based on what I have seen, I am confident that this program will have a very successful and long life here on the island and will have a positive impact on all of the citizens who are able to see the great work that the University is committed to doing.
Lastly I would like to thank Nick, my amazing roommates, my co-champions, friends and family for their continued support throughout this journey.
Jennings Primary School