Students will be “transported” to Starfish International, a school for girls and boys in The Gambia, West Africa. Starfish was founded “under the mango tree” ten years ago to help girls finish their high school education and attend college. The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and Starfish is supporting the 100 girls and boys who are fortunate to attend. Twelve students from Natick High School visited Starfish last summer. We stayed in dorms with twelve Starfish girls, doing everything together for two and a half weeks. We taught and took classes; we spent a day in their homes with their families; we learned songs, dances, and poetry; we danced, ran, and played soccer and softball together; we engaged in meaningful discussions about education, race, poverty, and family. Most importantly, we became great friends with our Starfish sisters. We would like to share our experiences with students in Natick, creating an authentic Gambian experience. It will be fun, interactive, and high energy. The week-long experience will be led by Mr. Harrigan and the Natick High School Junior and Senior girls who went on the trip. The Gambian girls will join us via live and recorded videos across the week. Students will experience the Starfish values of collaboration, empathy, determination and unconditional love. Students will develop leadership and communication skills, experience a boost of self-confidence and will have fun. During a typical day, students will choose from the following break-out activities… West African cooking Singing and drums Cultural dance Poetry Sewing Sports (wiffle ball, soccer, running) Multicultural discussion Storytelling Meditation The week ends with a graduation ceremony on Friday. Students will share what they have learned with family and friends and will be officially welcomed into the Starfish family.