Even though students have not been in school due to current restrictions and school closures, a group of five Elizabethton High School students and two teacher chaperones were able to participate in an educational enriching program just before the closure happened.
The group participated in the Elizabethton and Crosstown High Exchange program where the students and chaperones from EHS traveled to Memphis while students along with chaperones from Crosstown High traveled to Elizabethton March 9-11.
It was the second such exchange between the two XQ Super Schools and culminated in a meeting in Nashville with state legislators discussing current topics affecting schools including gun violence.
The purpose of the exchange program is to allow students to be immersed in learning while experiencing life in a different community experiencing the culture and how other schools operate over the three days.
Students from Elizabethton High School were nominated by their teachers and included ninth and tenth graders Jayci Bowers, Chloe Force, Sophie Grindstaff, Olivia Holly, and Renna Lane.
During the exchange, the students and their chaperones, Angie Wilber and Hailey Holyfield were paired with students from Crosstown for two days. The students shadowed their counterparts while participating in a variety of classroom settings.
“Although both schools are totally different, the students learned to respect and enjoy the differences,” Wilbur said about the exchange. “The exchange program enlightened the students from Elizabethton on how other schools are utilizing project-based learning.
“The students witnessed a number of strategies that they would like to see incorporated into instruction, but also saw areas that they value at EHS”.
Elizabethton also hosted students during the week and the exchange came to an end when students and chaperones who participated met mid-week to collaborate with Representative John Holsclaw, Jr and his staff at the State Capital in Nashville.
The students also had the opportunity to lend their voices on current legislation and the impact on education and communities across the state while meeting with various representatives from across the state.
“It was valuable to see in person how the Capitol operates and meet the representatives,” said Holly – a freshman at EHS. “I thought before that they would not be as open to hearing our thoughts because we are teenagers, but found them to be friendly and very interested in what we had to say about the different topics affecting our communities.”
During their visit to the Capitol, students were presented the (yellow) Tennessee Blue Book which celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the state’s ratification of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote.
Yellow represented the color of the women’s suffrage movement.
“I learned how a group of people can come together and can agree to disagree in an appropriate way,” stated Force – a sophomore at EHS. “It taught me that if the world was like that, even if the government was like that, then the United States would be a much better place for us all.
“Visiting with the state legislators was by far my favorite part because I would one day like to serve people and represent others.”
There are current discussions underway allowing for more future exchanges with more of the 17 XQ Super Schools located throughout the United States for later dates and semesters.
Dusty Duncan, Partnership Director at Elizabethton High School, contributed information in regard to the exchange.