ST. PAUL (Feb. 26, 2014) — On Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 over 60 middle school students and staff members from Community School of Excellence traveled to the Feed My Starving Children food packaging facility in Eagan, for a community service project to kick off their school’s Spirit Week.
For many of the participants on the field trip, it was a much shorter trip to Eagan than the journey they took from the refugee camps they immigrated from to the Twin Cities.
Community School of Excellence is a K-8 Hmong Language & Culture International Baccalaureate World School located in Saint Paul. As part of their IB World School curriculum, CSE encourages students to engage in service-learning projects that have a positive impact on the world. During their visit to Feed My Starving Children, each student will learn about world hunger and pack dehydrated food that will be sent to starving children abroad.
What is unique about this field trip is that the majority of the 960 students attending the Saint Paul charter school are English language learners and considered first or second-generation refugees from Thailand, Laos and Burma. Many of the students have benefitted from international aid organizations during their lifetime before coming to the United States.
Community School of Excellence is in the heart of the Saint Paul North End community and serves the largest number of recently immigrated Hmong and Karenni refugee students in Minnesota. Many of these families arrived in Minnesota from Southeast Asia within the last four or five years.
Three Karenni students who attend Community School of Excellence and recently immigrated with their families include seventh graders, Kay Meh, Gabriela Dumeh, and Enjella Htwar Meh. These students arrived in the United States as recently as March 2013 and will be working as a team at Feed My Starving Children to give back to communities overseas.
Eighth grade Karenni students Su Meh and Toe Meh have both excelled academically while at Community School of Excellence and participate in the Rising Stars student council group which requires students to complete community service projects. Su Meh serves in a leadership role as Co-Vice President of the student council.
“We are very proud of the courage and progress our students have shown during their transition from the refugee camps,” says CSE Superintendent Mo Chang. “Within a year of arriving in Minnesota, these students have gone from being the receivers of international aid to being givers of international aid. Our kids are true world-class citizens.”
In spring of 2013, Community School of Excellence was authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization as an IB World School. It is the first Hmong cultural charter school in the state of Minnesota to gain this authorization.
The goal of the school is to challenge Community School of Excellence students to think globally and to be good citizens of the world. Their experience at Feed My Starving Children during school Spirit Week taught them about global hunger and sustainability from a new perspective in addition to skill building related to teamwork, process management, distribution and international non-profit development.
Community School of Excellence’s Assistant Middle School Principal Mai Change Vue and School Counselor Anika Stafford also participated in the service project at Feed My Starving Children. Under the direction of student council advisor and CSE Student Support Specialist Tou Ger Bennett Xiong, student council members recruited 30 additional students from the school’s Boy’s and Girl’s Mentoring Program to participate in the community service event. The group also raised over $300.00 in spare change from their families and friends to give as a donation to Feed My Starving Children.
Community School of Excellence is a K-8 Hmong Language and Culture IB World School located in Saint Paul, Minnesota that provides a world-class education through a caring and innovative environment that fosters inquiring, knowledgeable and compassionate students who embrace the Hmong culture and celebrate global understanding and respect. To learn more about Community School of Excellence visit www.csemn.org.