Page 27 - Menlo Magazine Summer 2019
P. 27

 Going the Distance
Angel More ’20 organized Escape from Poverty, a fundraiser for Children International to help break the cycle of poverty starting with children. A group of Menlo and Bay Area high school students and varsity soccer coach Marc Kerrest gathered pledges and then made the swim from Alcatraz Island to the St. Francis Yacht Club.
Far-Reaching Research
The HAND Foundation generously provides support each year for several student-fellows to undertake an in-depth, experiential travel-study project over the summer.
With her HAND fellowship, Sulwen Ma ’20 traveled to Sichuan, China, to study how the country’s rapid economic development has led to a generation of “left-behind children.” The parents of these kids have moved from rural villages
to urban centers in search of economic opportunity, often leaving their offspring with relatives, friends, or to fend for themselves. Sulwen lived with local host families, spent
time teaching and tutoring, and worked with a nonprofit organization that provides education and support for these children. “I’d like to thank the HAND Foundation and Menlo for giving me this amazing opportunity to study what I’m most interested in,” she says. “The families I met through homestays in Naxi and Zhongjiang broadened my understanding of the devastating effects of rapid globalization and allowed me to experience life in rural China.”
Sareena Sandhu ’21 used a HAND grant to film a documentary investigating the social and cultural impacts
of the migration of Punjabi Sikh farmers from India to the Parmesan cheese-making region of Italy to farm and produce Parmesan cheese. Specifically, she sought to gain a sense
of the labor relations and social dynamics between Punjabi workers and Italian employers, to learn about the impacts
of Indian integration into Italian culture and society, and to shed light on the lives and stories of these people. “Going into this trip, I did my research and planned out all that I could. But nothing prepared me for the overwhelming kindness
and welcoming gestures from both the Italian and Indian communities,” Sareena says. “This project taught me not only about the difficulties and adventures of starting a life in a foreign country but also about the importance and value of traveling, face-to-face conversations, and real experience in order to truly learn about the world.”
    Art without Barriers
Curtis Roberts, a former San
Quentin prison inmate, was
on campus to speak with
Menlo School students about
life behind bars and post-
incarceration rehabilitation.
Roberts’ visit coincided with
an art exhibit of works created
by San Quentin inmates sentenced to
death and spending the remainder of their lives in prison. On display in Menlo’s Creative Arts and Design Center in March
of 2019, the artwork was graciously loaned to Menlo’s studio art department by former student Maddy Wenig ’20, who curated the display in collaboration with art instructor Dr. Nina Ollikainen. This was the first time the collection of prisoner artwork has been displayed in the San Francisco Bay area.
A Celebration of Our Diverse Community
In early March, Menlo’s Upper School celebrated its inaugural Diversity Week, which featured student panels and speakers discussing spiritual diversity, resilience and mental well-being, and diversity of thought. Additionally, Issa Coultas ’07, who served as president of the Spectrum Club (then the GSA) as a Menlo student, presented via Google Chat, and internationally acclaimed community organizer and social entrepreneur Rana Abdelhamid (pictured
to the right) was on campus to speak to students about her work to build solidarity across communities domestically and abroad.

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