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By Will Searcy
Director of Marketing, Rosarian Academy
February 24, 2023, West Palm Beach, Florida – Rosarian Academy teacher Mildred Acosta spoke to students in fourth through eighth grades about her experiences teaching in Kenya this summer. Her presentation was on February 8, 2023, in the Rosarian theater.
In coordination with the local nonprofit Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative, Mildred and her son, Santino Merchan, a seventh-grade student at Rosarian Academy, traveled across the world in July 2022 to immerse themselves in the culture of rural Western Kenya, teaching and collaborating at a school run by the local nonprofit.
In her presentation, Mildred discussed how she became involved with Kijana School’s Care, Share, and Explore Program, which aims to teach students to protect and value all life on Earth – human, animal, and plant – and share their teaching and learning with neighboring communities. Her presentation provided the students with a glimpse of life in a different culture and the shared environmental efforts of students in West Palm Beach and Kenya. She also inspired students to do their part to serve our global community.
Kijana, a nonprofit founded by lifelong educator Jim Cummings, operates in the U.S. (North Palm Beach, Florida) and in Kenya, promoting and cultivating youth empowerment through educational development, cross-cultural dialogue, and sustainable and environmentally friendly economic growth among under-served Kenyan school communities and U.S. school communities.
At the conclusion of Mildred’s presentation, eight-grade members of the National Junior Honor Society remained just outside the theater to place on display the 50 posters of the “Kijana Heroes” poster series, a collaboration between the Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative and local graphic artist, Claire Salmon. The Kijana Heroes poster series celebrates Black History Month by featuring prominent Black men and women throughout history and encouraging educational cross-cultural development.
The series features 10 new posters of prominent historical figures, including Amanda Gorman, George Washington Carver, Edwidge Danticat, Jason Reynolds, Julia Greeley, Rihanna, St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Martin de Porres, Thea Bowman, and Thurgood Marshall. The poster series’ distribution and displays have been made possible by Stephanie and John Pew; the law firm of Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart, and Shipley, PA; and Arcadia Books.
Rosarian Academy, founded in 1925 by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, is a premier, independent Catholic school, serving Montessori through 8th Grade students in Palm Beach County. It offers an exceptionally strong academic program enriched by faith, athletics, visual and performing arts, and community service opportunities.
Feature photo: Rosarian Academy National Junior Honor Society Members who displayed the Kijana Heroes are, from left, Isabella Pedroni-Spinola, Ainslee Aden, Mia Chaves, Chase Rehm, Jack Freitas, Orion Vincent, Walker Albury, and Nicholas Brinson. Photos Courtesy of Rosarian Academy