Speakers Match Program Revives Kodachrome Memories
By Erica Burman on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
[The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and Peace Corps have partnered to connect Returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) with elementary and secondary school classrooms throughout the United States through Peace Corps’ Speakers Match program. Such classroom visits are an ideal way for RPCVs to carry out the Third Goal and inspire the next generation of Volunteers. Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Diane Hall visited a classroom this spring and shares her experience here.]
I had the great pleasure to present to two groups of 6th graders on Friday, March 11th at Topeka Collegiate School in Topeka, Kansas. This was my first time to present at Topeka Collegiate and I was very impressed with their “Peace Corps Day.” The school had arranged classes and RPCVs so that everyone interacted with an RPCV. It was an amazing feat of scheduling and a big commitment by the school.
RPCV presenters were rotated in and out of classrooms according to their schedules. At lunch, we, along with the 8th grade class, were treated to a catered lunch. As a group we introduced ourselves to the 8th grade and talked a little bit about our Peace Corps experience.
My presentations to the 6th grade were well received. Since I’d been a volunteer in Palau and an APCD in Namibia, I gave them a presentation choice: Namibia or Palau. Amazingly enough, both groups chose Palau. They were very interested in some of the cultural norms of Palau as well as the work I did. The funniest thing for me in my presentation was a technical one. One of the kids asked about the quality of my photos (from a thumb drive on a laptop through an LCD projector) and I explained that I’d taken them with a 35mm camera and had to scan the original slides into computer photos. Although it seems like only yesterday that I was a Volunteer, if I do the math it’s been over 20 years…and these young people had little knowledge of cameras that weren’t digital. I found myself giving a side lesson on photography in the olden days! Kodachrome…gives us those nice, bright colors…
Topeka Collegiate also had an after school community session that invited local folks to come in and talk to RPCVs. Several of us displayed our souvenirs/artifacts on tables and left them out for the evening activity—an art event for students, parents, and the community. It was a full day of Peace Corps community awareness. Hats off to Topeka Collegiate for truly making a full day of Peace Corps!
Speakers Match is a Peace Corps program that brings Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) into classrooms to present their service experiences with students. To enroll or request a speaker, go to Speakers Match.