Fremd High School Students Host Poverty Awareness Week for School
Two classes at Fremd High School participated in a unique event to create awareness around the global issue of poverty.
“Poverty Awareness Week” was a series of events with the purpose educate students about the poverty that exists around the world and in Fremd’s own community. Students in the World Affairs class and Multicultural Perspectives were the hosts.
“The Hunger Banquet really opened my eyes and made me realize how wide spread and awful poverty really is,” said Morgan Faulkner, a sophomore at Fremd High School “It made me realize that we stereotype people who aren’t as fortunate and it’s horrible. Kids need to become more aware of other’s experiences in order to diminish the problem.”
The week was dedicated to help empower students in fighting poverty as it exists in the world.
The biggest activity for the week was a “Hunger Banquet,” in which participating students were given a meal that is representative of a traditional meal from different countries around the world ranging in various socioeconomic statuses. Small group discussions took place following the meal for participants to debrief their experiences in the simulation.
There were several other events, as well. Tuesday, the classes hosted an event called “What the World Eats,” where photojournalism work displayed what a typical family eats from countries all around the world. The photos were on shown in the cafeteria. Wednesday was the hunger banquet, and Thursday a screening of the documentary “Poor Kids” was shown after school. Donations were collected throughout the week to benefit the Palatine Food Pantry.
“Students made connections to hunger and poverty not only around the world and United States, but also in the Palatine area,” said Martin Zacharia, social studies teacher at Fremd High School. “They also began to question simplistic views of the poor as lazy, dangerous, and undeserving, and most importantly, they identified the urgency of addressing hunger now. By sharing a variety of possibilities, both individual and societal, they could help alleviate hunger in our community and beyond.”
Zacharia said the Hunger Banquet, on the surface, was a very simple exercise in illustrating economic inequality. However, the insights that students left with, in which they did not come to the event with, were inspiring. He added that the event reminded himself and Courtney Wilhelm, social studies teacher at Fremd, why they both went into teaching and how important and transformative events like this can be.