Guest Speaker: Mr. Shirley

The Importance of a Bilingual Education

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Spanish Class was once again,  lucky enough to have a visit from a "Valued Community Member". Our special guest speaker from the community was Mr. David Shirley. David was a student himself at Pitman Middle School and is now a Rowan University student, currently studying Spanish among other things.  Mr. Shirley came to talk about the benefits of learning another language and about how great it feels to help others. He shared with us that during his breaks from school he is a Volunteer and a Board Member for the Volunteer Abroad Programs. Mr. Shirley described how great it feels to travel around the world, helping village communities build schools, homes, clean water facilities and helping endangered marine and wildlife animals.

Students got to see  videos from the Volunteer Programs in Peru and Cambodia. Children in these countries were pictured  smiling to see their new school buildings being constructed by the volunteers with the Volunteer Abroad Program and their  own community members.

Students noted besides just work ;it also looked like fun for volunteers to work  up close and personally with the animals  in their sanctuaries and make new friends with other Program volunteers.

When students asked,” wouldn’t it be easier to just stay home and play Xbox?” Mr. Shirley responded, “yes, it would be easier but not better.” David shared with the students that he got to make friends around the world, make a significant and meaningful difference in someone's  life who needed help and come back home feeling grateful for all the benefits and opportunities he has here in the United States. He states that volunteering with the Volunteers Abroad Program helps him feel inspired to help others and appreciate his  blessings. He says after his first volunteer experience, his attitude about everything changed and that he has no “bad days” anymore when he thinks about others and how he can help.

Mr. Shirley shared that studying a foreign language was both helpful and inspiring. He mentioned that whatever country he volunteers in, he always tries to learn some key phrases and greetings to show the people where he is working that he is interested in knowing more about their culture and language.

Seeing Mr. Shirley’s presentation about helping other communities around the world was a good opportunity for our students to note the many differences between the lives of children around the world and our student’s lives here. Students noted everyone looked happy in the videos despite not having many resources. Students also noted when they were older they would like to help others too and use their knowledge and skills gained in school to make someone else’s situation better.

We are so happy that our own former student  and "Valued Community Member" Mr. David Shirley shared with us how he helps make the world a better place by using what he learned from foreign language to carpentry skills, in Pitman Public Schools and now Rowan University to help people around him.