by Mike Papritz
Above: Morna addresses a cultural geography class at Kent Meridian High School.
At Kentridge High School in Kent, I have been teaching an Advanced Placement human geography course for juniors and seniors for the past six years. One of our major units in geography during the year is a focus on cultures around the world. I have been fortunate to have established a relationship with the Canadian Studies Center that provides guest speakers for the classes. My students have had the opportunity to listen to valuable information about Canada far beyond the scope of what they realized cultural elements of Canada to be. From learning about the Inuit language and culture and understanding how the political border between the U.S. and Canada has altered cultural traits of certain people, my students have received a wealth of information about our neighbors to the north.
In December Morna McEachern, Social Work and Affiliated Faculty of the Center, showed clips from Travels Across the Medicine Line and then talked about the effect of the Canadian-U.S. border on social welfare outcomes, policies and practices as they pertain to two disproportionately poor groups that are often divided by the border and thus social services – Indigenous peoples and refugees.
All these guest speaking engagements were made possible from the ongoing presentations I went to while attending the numerous social studies leadership conferences that took place over the years at Lake Chelan in March. Nadine Fabbi did a tremendous job of bringing Canada to life while presenting and then she later became a vital liaison in coordinating guest speakers for my geography courses. The Canadian Studies Center and Nadine have given my high school students a greater depth of understanding regarding Canada that they would not have otherwise been exposed to. I look for to using individuals at the center in the future to continue to give my students exposure on the importance of Canada.
Morna’s visit was funded by the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Canada and Title VI grant, US Department of Education, Office of International Education Programs Service.