It’s not every day that people get the chance to speak with the vice president of a country, but a group of high school students in Texas experienced this unique opportunity earlier this month.
Students in a Spanish class at Lebanon Trail High School in Frisco, Texas read about Epsy Campbell, the Vice President of Costa Rica, in El Sol, a Scholastic Classroom Magazine for students taking Level 3 Spanish.
Campbell made history in April 2018 when she became the first woman of African descent to be in such a position in Costa Rica, and the first one in Latin America. She is known for her work as an advocate for women's rights, an activist against racism and a prominent economist.
The video chat was arranged when a Lebanon Trail High School Spanish teacher, Kimberly Church, messaged Campbell on Twitter about how inspired her class was by the story they read about her in El Sol. The students extended their learning by conducting research and creating presentations about Campbell’s life and career.
When @epsycampbell, Vice President of Costa Rica and your students' real life superhero writes you back, you fangirl, squeal, spill things and start crying for your students! They will die when they see this!#VPofCostaRica #championofwomen #championofequalrights @FISD_WL pic.twitter.com/lT8DU2FJiM— LTHS World Languages (@LTHSLOTE) April 24, 2019
Campbell accepted Church’s invitation to video chat with her class and during the discussion, students took turns asking the Vice President questions in Spanish about leadership, unity and how to create space for empathy and hope in the world.
"This was an amazing experience from learning about her in class from the magazine article, to her accepting our teacher's request to speak with us. Being chosen to engage with the Vice President was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to relate with her as a woman, and a woman of African descent, and honestly someone I admire so much,” said one of Church’s students about the video chat with Campbell.
Church said her favorite “mic drop moment” of the discussion was when Campbell answered a student’s question about facing opposition:
"The first and most important thing is that your internal strength will drive forward, the goals that you created. Opposition is the best form of affirming what our own goals are and affirms where we want to go...Never allow others that don’t have purpose, take us away from building and changing the world. When we manage to convince ourselves of what we can do, we will stop having to convince the rest. Obstacles are opportunities to strengthen ourselves for the battle," said Campbell.
We’re loving this special story about how readers are further engaging in learning about people and topics they’re interested in!
For more information and articles from Scholastic Classroom Magazines that help build knowledge, spark curiosity, inspire empathy and ignite a passion for learning, visit scholastic.com/magazines.