Lincoln Elementary School was named a second place winner in the primary school category for the 2017-18 Global Virtual Classroom contest – a free online program that brings together schools from around the world to create a website and develop a service project.
Sponsored by the Give Something Back International Foundation (GSBI), the GVC program provides an opportunity for primary and secondary school students from around the world to work with and learn from each other as they collaboratively design a website on a topic of their choosing. A panel of International judges evaluates the final work and determines the winners.
Participants' efforts were judged for content, presentation, collaboration, and a helping focus. The helping focus encourages students to “give back to others” as they demonstrate achievement of a helpful objective such as personal, social and/or environmental responsibility or support for a worthy cause.
Lincoln students, led by teacher and GVC coordinator Matt Kuntz, collaborated with students from Calgary, Canada, and Fuwa-gun Gifuken, Japan, to create their theme, "You Are You," which focuses on their unique traits, talents, traditions and hobbies. As they built their website, they also developed a helping focus that centered on delivering supplies to schools in Puerto Rico that were devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Students launched the "Pencils for Puerto Rico" drive at Lincoln in the winter, and collected nearly 15,000 items.
Along with their second-place plaque, Lincoln will be receiving a cash prize that students are donating to provide tuition, uniforms, backpacks and school supplies to children in India who otherwise would not be able to attend school.
This year, the GVC program was dedicated to the memory of former District 97 teacher Janet Barnstable, a long-serving GVC program manager who passed away in January.
"So many teachers and students shared their tributes to Janet on their websites noting how special she was to them and the enormous positive difference she made on their lives – truly a mentor, a beloved friend and inspiring teacher to so many around the world," said JoAnn Patrick-Ezzell, a chairman and co-founder of the GSBI Foundation. "She is sorely missed and will remain in our hearts forever.”
Since 2005, District 97 schools participating in Global Virtual Classroom have won numerous awards, including 10 grand prize, eight second place, seven third place and 19 special merit.
To learn more about this year's GVC project at Lincoln, check out a brief video available on the district's YouTube channel.