By Melor Suhaimi & Keo Xiong
Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff
The 2013-2014 school year has gone by so quickly! Even though time flew by, many activities took place throughout the school year and especially during the last few weeks. The end of the year is always a bittersweet time because we are all excited for the summer, but it is also time to say goodbye to our youth until the Fall (or until the start of the Summer Kinect, AALEAD’s MD Middle and High School Summer Program!)
At Argyle and Parkland Middle schools, youth learned about Asian countries of their choice, including Japan, South Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam. For each unit, the country’s history, culture, and people were highlighted. Other aspects of the country were highlighted such as arts and crafts, pop culture, and famous people, as well as everyone’s favorite: food. Making food and eating food was a common goal throughout all Middle School Programs! MD Middle School AALEADers made sushi (Japan), bibimbap and bulgogi (South Korea), halo-halo (Phillipines), and spring rolls and banh mi sandwiches (Vietnam), among other dishes. The highlight of the year at Argyle was when youth created their own dish – from the name to the recipe – which incorporated ingredients from each youth’s cultural dishes, and which they named Halo-ritto (a play on the words halo-halo, a dessert from the Philippines, and burrito bowls from one of their favorite restaurants, Chipotle). It was great to see youth engaged and interested in learning about cultures different from their own.
AALEADers also took on many leadership roles, teaching their peers about their favorite topics and interests. AALEAD staff took part in thoughtful lessons planned and taught by Argyle and Parkland youth. Topics included how to draw manga, how to play basketball, Korean pop music, how to dance, and the significance of Indian mehndi tattoos. Leadership and maturity were just a few qualities that AALEADers displayed in front of the classroom as they taught and directed their peers through these lessons.
At Loiederman and Eastern Middle Schools, AALEADers reflected on the school year and wrote special goodbye notes to each individual youth. Loiederman and Eastern AALEADers created and customized their own envelope where the special notes were placed and read on the very last day of programs. In a time of reflection and goodbyes, it is always rewarding to see the strong family bond that AALEAD creates!
Field trips were also a highlight this school year! AALEADers youth had the opportunity to go to Manna Food Center, Fiesta Asia, Maryland Day, and the DC Central Kitchen, among others. This past Saturday, AALEAD staff took AALEAD youth who worked on the Youth Media project to the movies in Downtown Silver Spring. Youth enjoyed watching Maleficent and after, spent quality time together on a beautiful sunny day! Field trips throughout the year led to youth earning student service learning hours to providing youth from all programs to spend a day together outside of school. Here are pictures from this past Saturday’s trip to the movies:
As the academic year draws to a close, we celebrate and congratulate all of our AALEAD youth and their accomplishments, from our sixth graders who have transitioned well into middle school from elementary school, to our seventh graders who continue exploring their interests, and finally, to the eighth graders who have grown to become role models for their younger AALEAD peers and are moving on to the next chapter in their lives: high school.