Mar 8, 2021

Student photos reveal pandemic impact

A student captures a child studying.
A student captures a child studying.

As a school project, Christel House India students snapped photos of life during the pandemic. Dhanaraj Keezhara, Visual Media Teacher, asked the photography club to document “our student’s survival mindset” through pictures. Over 175 student photos were submitted! Sandhya B., Grade 11, is honest about the assignment. “I just clicked pictures of my reality.” Kids from Grades 5 to 12 participated in the project. Students used their parent’s basic smart phones or school tablets provided for online classes to capture their images. “The students clicked pictures from an agonizing environment and frustration,” says Dhanaraj. “However, there is hope depicted in the pictures.” In a striking color image called “Covid Warriors,” Sandhya promoted safety. “I wanted to emphasize precautionary measures and how to fight the pandemic,” she says. Dhanaraj is proud of the student creativity. “They captured powerful images of the pandemic’s impact on their everyday lives.”

Mar 8, 2021

Christel House saluted for supporting families

The American Society of Mexico (AMSOC) is saluting Christel House Mexico (CHMX) for its “outstanding humanitarian contribution to the community during the year of 2020.” Javier Alarcón Benet, CHMX Executive Director, says the distinction honors the school’s committed staff and board. “I feel so grateful to work on this great mission with great colleagues.”  

Christel House was one of a handful of organizations honored by AMSOC (including United Way Mexico, Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity among others.) “They have faced big challenges,” said AMSOC in their announcement. “They have been working intensely with creativity, tenacity and professionalism to carry on with their important mission.” Christel House families faced economic uncertainty. With lockdowns, 89% of parents of CHMX students either lost their jobs or suffered significant reductions in income. Christel House staff responded, organizing food drives to safely provide thousands of meals and critical resources for students and their families. In 2020, through the AMSOC Organizations Steering Group, CHMX forged alliances with new community partners. “Without AMSOC, those new relationships wouldn’t have been possible,” says Alarcón Benet. “We are proud to have been awarded this Certificate of Excellence for how we faced the pandemic.”     

Mar 8, 2021

Alumna mentors students for STEM careers

Mentoring students to explore tech jobs.
Mentoring students to explore tech jobs.

Dozens of Christel House Academy students are learning about STEM careers thanks to a program developed by an Indiana group called Government Women in Technology. “STEMpowerment” was created to inspire girls to explore jobs in science, tech, engineering and math. Cheri Walker-Owens, a State of Indiana Junior Security Engineer and 2014 Christel House graduate, is leading the effort. “It’s fulfilling to be able to do something to give back to my school,” she says. 

Students meet virtually with Cheri and a team of state employees (Gabrille Young-Ortiz, Cassidy Molnar, and Stephanie Kelly) each month. My goal for STEMpowerment is to give the students information I wish I knew when I was in their spot,” she says I’ve been very focused on getting feedback after each meeting to tailor subjects we talk about.”

STEM careers offer good options for students. According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other jobs are growing at 9.8%. Anushree M Bag, Executive Director, Risk and Compliance for Indiana and Founder of the Government Women in Technology Group felt connecting with Christel House would be a good opportunity and is impressed with the student engagement. They are getting the most value out of the coaching and mentoring that our STEMpowerment team provides,” Anushree says. “It’s a win-win situation as this has been a great learning opportunity for our young leaders at the State as well. Cheri agrees. “It’s nice that students can see one of their peers come back and share their journey.”   

 
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