Loudoun County, VA (October 8, 2015) – Seldens Landing Elementary received the first-ever Global Impact Award from the International Coalition to Eradicate Hunger and Abuse (ICEHA).
The award was presented on Wednesday, September 23rd, at a special assembly conducted by the school and by a very special guest.
The award was presented in honor of the school’s donation of more than 1,200 pounds of school supplies to ICEHA. The supplies have now been given to students in Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana to meet a need that many families in those countries are unable to meet. “We didn’t set out to do a One to the World project,” said Seldens Elementary Principal Tracy Stephens. “This developed sporadically.”
Once the supplies were delivered, students at the school began completing projects related to the new relationships with these schools. At the assembly, one group of students presented a video entitled, “Nice to Meet You, Nigeria!” In the video, an avatar named “Selden” learns about Nigeria from another avatar who is preparing to take a trip to Nigeria to visit family members there. The video details how a person would get to Nigeria, how long the flight would be, what he would eat while there, what the currency is and even what daily chores a young person might be expected to do.
A second video was entitled, “In Search of Tunde Odunlade.” Tunde Odunlade is a Nigerian poet and artist. His work is included in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of African Art. In the video, two students explore the museum in a “Go Pro” helmet camera to find his art work and take students on a virtual tour.
In a third video called “Kids Can Change the World,” students shared photographs of some of the students who received the donated school supplies. The final video, called “Global Hello,” is an introduction to the students and facilities at the school. This video will accompany a Seldens Landing parent on a trip to Nigeria next week to be shared with the students at the school that received school supplies.
After the videos, all of the students in the school joined in the singing of a traditional African folk called “Funga Alafia.” The performance was recorded and also will be shared with the students in Nigeria. A small group of students drummed during the song. When music teacher Kimberly Hrynyk left her chair in the drum ring to direct the singing, a surprise visitor took her place. Tunde Odunlade sat down behind Hrynyk’s drum and drummed along with the students.
Following the musical performance, a group of students sat down with Odunlade to interview him about his life and work. Odunlade brought greetings from his family in Nigeria, including his six children. He said that it was his “pleasure to be an artist.” As an actor, poet and visual artist, Odunlade described these arts as “all one family” that required “creativity, imagination, composition and perspective.” He stated that he puts his “life and soul in everything he does.” Odunlade told students not to run away from challenges. “The tougher the battle, the sweeter the victory.”
Carolyn Ronis, executive director of ICEHA, joined Odunlade in the presentation of the organization’s Global Impact Award. The award featured a bronze-cast bust atop a wooden base. The organization also recognized Stephens for her leadership of the effort by presenting her with a kente cloth woven in a traditional Ashante pattern reserved for kings.