As part of the Norwalk-Riobamba Sister Cities program, five high school students from Ecuador were selected to receive scholarships to attend the Connecticut Health I-Team Multimedia Journalism Workshop at the University of Connecticut.
The students were chosen out of 84 kids in Riobamba, Ecuador, based on their academic excellence and community engagement.
Kevin Barahona, Mikaela de la Cruz, Cristina Huisha, Leslie Parra, and Mikaela Romo studied at UConn the week of July 14. They learned how to use the 5 Ws How and when writing a news story, how to take sharp photographs using natural light on their smart phones and to record, edit and produce a podcast and video stories.
The students also had the opportunity to be immersed in the American culture and make new friends.
Lynne DeLucia of New Haven, editor of the Conn. Health I-Team and director of the multimedia high school workshop, stressed the importance of having students from other countries experience both the program and life in the United States.
“One of the things that we strive for in our program is diversity, because we feel that’s very important,” she said. “When I found out about this opportunity, we worked hard to raise funds to underwrite the cost of having students from Ecuador attend our program. It was hard work, but well worth it, and we are so glad that they are participating.”
One American student in the program, Serene Feng, 17, of Manchester, said that having the students as part of the program “…truly enhanced my experience, I loved learning about the Ecuadorian culture, including the events back home that concern each of them.”
“I find it amazing that they’re all part of a program that aims to create connections between people around the world. I find myself very fortunate to see people like myself, ‘Latinos,’” said Luis Mila, 17, of Miami, Florida.
Ephemia Nicolakis, 17, Woodbridge, also enjoyed spending time with the Ecuadorian students.
“I think it is very cool that you five are having the chance to come America and explore not only the country, but also journalism! It has been so much fun spending time with all of you and learning more about Ecuador,” said Nicolakis.
Mikaela de la Cruz is a student at Leontive Vigotsky High School, Riobama, Ecuador.