Royal Wootton Bassett Academy’s global links programme is engaging students in two very different experiences: learning about our special links with the USA and finding out about and raising money for a community in Burma.
In February sixteen Sixth Form students and staff travelled with another sixteen from Crickhowell High School in Wales to spend a packed ten days at Gar-Field High School in Virginia close to Washington DC.
They were hosted by American families and visits were made to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the White House and Capitol Building in Washington DC and George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon.
Year 12 student Hannah Fogarty said: “We also got the chance to experience high school which meant starting at 7.30am and finishing at 2pm, giving us the afternoon to go shopping at the mall. “We also went to see Gar-Field’s basketball team in action against a rival school which was a very loud and exciting experience.”
Beth Graham, also in Year 12, said “Overall it was a great trip, appreciated and enjoyed by all who took part. It was a fantastic experience.”
Students from Gar-Field High will be making a return visit later this year or in Spring 2014.
Making a small difference in Burma
By contrast students across Royal Wootton Bassett Academy are working with the charity Stand By Me to build a new school in the town of Tamu, situated in northwest Burma, 90 miles into a restricted zone. Year 13 students Kiera Fitzgerald and Katy Widnall explain.
Tamu is located on the major route between India and China, making it a centre for drug and human trafficking.
“This has resulted in some children in the town being abandoned by parents who have no other choice but to seek work elsewhere.
“Burma is ruled by a military junta, where the persecution of minority groups and the violation of human rights have resulted in extreme poverty, child prostitution, thousands of orphans and 70,000 child soldiers.
“Despite this, around 1.5 million foreign tourists will make a visit in 2013. Due to the terrible poverty the Burmese population faces, 40% of children in Burma do not have access to any form of education. The government spends 25 per cent of their budget on the military but only 1.3 per cent on education.
“Royal Wootton Bassett Academy is aiming to raise £15,000 to build a school to provide quality education to equip children with the knowledge needed to break the cycle of poverty. Without the charity, millions of children in India and Burma would be denied any education.
“So far, we have raised just over £2,000 through cake sales, non-uniform days and sponsored events run by each year group within the academy. We hope to reach our target within two years.”
Find out more about Royal Wootton Bassett Academy and Sixth Form College at www.rwba.org.uk