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PURCHASE LINE: Student participates in mission trip to Uganda

by SIERRA BERRINGER, Gazette Student News Reporter on February 07, 2014 11:00 AM

PURCHASE LINE — Uganda is an African nation that features poverty, sickness and disease. However, it also represents hope and faith for many orphans and villagers.

Benjamin Crawford, a sophomore at Purchase Line High School, traveled to Uganda to work on an orphanage. The Crawford family’s mission trip was through “Children’s Home Chain,” and this organization partners with Raising Up Hope in Uganda, a Christian orphanage near the capital city of Kampala.

[PHOTO: Benjamin Crawford, a sophomore at Purchase Line High School, traveled to Uganda to work on an orphanage near the capital city of Kampala. (Submitted Photo/Purchase Line High School)]

On Jan. 18-24, a group from the Sovereign Grace Church in Indiana traveled on a mission trip to Uganda. The members of the trip included Crawford’s father, Bob, who serves as vice president of the Children’s Home Chain for Africa, and his brother, Jacob, Purchase Line High School Class of 2013, as well as members of the Hartle family — Mike, Jim and Noel and Nathan Williams.

Raising Up Hope in Uganda was started by Patrick Ssenyonjo, a young African who himself grew up in an orphanage. While on the trip, the members had a mission to build the foundation for a second orphanage about 15 minutes away from the first one, in a more forested area. The foundation was completed on the trip, and the entire orphanage will hopefully be finished and ready for use in August.

According to Benjamin, “The culture there was very interesting. Everyone was very kind and very open about their religion.”

The members also had help from many of the village workers who would go on the street corner and wait for someone to pick them up to work, as well as older orphan boys.

Benjamin described the older orphan boys as “very hard workers. It was a great experience working with them.”

While on the trip, the members became friends with almost everyone, and everyone there was “overwhelmed and happy that we would come to them from a different country and enter into their poverty to help them. They were all very gracious and grateful. Each person there made it a point to come up and personally thank us for our time and work,” said Benjamin.

When asked about his favorite part of the trip, Benjamin said, “I enjoyed interacting with the orphans and observing the way they present themselves and act with each other. All of the orphans were friends with each other. We got to share a lot of laughs with the directors and orphans.”

Sometimes being able to laugh in such an environment can make everyone feel better. The orphans there suffer from what most people would think is having no family, but they’re each others’ family. Benjamin added, “Director Patrick and William were super funny and really fun to hang out with.”

While on the trip, the members stayed in the Northern Bypass Motel, and ate at a few local restaurants. The group had to try and stay away from eating a lot of meats there. Benjamin said, “They had some good food like french fries (chips) and we ate a lot of chicken. The trip created challenges such as trying to stay away from mosquitoes and the tap water. The water was safe for hand washing and showering, but could be dangerous to get in your mouth. When trying to shower, the water had very little pressure and was very cold.”

Another challenge described by Benjamin was “keeping up with the pace of work, which we managed to do.”

One of the biggest differences between Uganda and the United States is transportation, according to Benjamin.

“All of the people ride little motorcycles which are called Boda bodas. They would fit up to five people on those little cycles. People there were kind, and more open, but there were a lot of security checkpoints. Almost everywhere we went we were patted down,” said Benjamin. For recreation, soccer is played, and there are some malls and plazas in Kampala.

Mission trips are a movement that can reach out and help many people in the United States, and worldwide. Finding a group of people and planning a trip can be easier than it may sound, and can help hundreds, thousands and even millions of people.

In closing, Benjamin said, “Going on a mission trip was an awesome experience because you know the whole time you were there that your sole purpose was to serve and glorify God by helping the orphans build their second orphanage.” 

TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM

It isn’t uncommon in the current generation to hear about teachers, instructors and college professors using technology in the classroom.

[PHOTO: Zachary Jennings, a senior at Purchase Line High School, demonstrated his robot that can detect the dark lines on the map and follow them.  (Sierra Berringer/Purchase Line High School)]

At Purchase Line, teachers and students have become, “accustomed to technology,” said math teacher Andrew Sleppy. The use of technology in Sleppy’s classroom includes: Smart Board, Document Camera, Active Expressions, ActivSlate, Synchron Eyes, Lego Mindstorms, NXT Softwar5e, Visual Basic, Java, Cognitive Tutor, Study Island, Computer Scanner, Computers, Scratch and Codu.

Many of the software programs used in Sleppy’s classroom make possible a few of his computer classes. Without the software and computers, the classes wouldn’t even exist.

As with most technology, Sleppy has found advantages and disadvantages in the use of his technology used in the classroom.

Sleppy said, “It helps me stay organized. It’s easier to do my instruction with the technology tools, (and) it’s easier for the kids because they’re accustomed to technology. The tools give me ways to diagnose student achievement when using Active Expressions because it helps me to easily see if the kids understand the material.”

Nearly all teachers and professors have some way to put grades into a computer and online for students to easily access.

In fact, some, if not most schools, require it.

Sleppy said, “I can quickly see and enter in grades with the help of technology. Synchron Eyes makes it possible for me to broadcast notes for kids to see them easier.”

The biggest disadvantage Sleppy has found is, “the glitches and when things don’t work the way they should.”

When asked what his favorite tool was, Sleppy said, “The Smart Board and Document Camera, but Synchron Eyes glitches the most.”

Many teachers at Purchase Line use the Smart Board to their advantage in the classroom, and it’s something students see being used on a daily basis.

“The idea of the Smart Board is that it allows me to touch the screen while I’m in front of the class instead of being behind the computer. It allows me to broadcast my screen, keep documents, and the tools included in the Smart Board help me to draw straight lines, circles, etc., ... and eliminates freehand,” said Sleppy.

Eighth-grader Micah Kurka said, “The Smart Board is better than a chalkboard because the teacher can take things from their computer and display it to the class.”

The document camera is also something students see a lot of, but is mostly seen in math classes.

Sleppy said, “I use the document camera to display things larger onto my Smart Board. I oftentimes will place my calculator and student work under the camera. It gives students different strategies and makes the calculator methods less confusing when the kids can see what I’m doing close up. By showing student work under the camera, it gives the rest of the students different strategies and new perspectives on how to go about a problem. I occasionally place the textbook for that class under the camera as well.”

“It took me a few days to build my robot,” said senior Zachary Jennings, a student in Robotics class. “My robot included the sound sensor which made it react to sound. I like that it uses algebra and geometry in real-world problems.” Jennings designed a robot that can detect dark lines on a map and follow them.

Another robot created this year was designed to try and get into the “cookie jar.” As the robot begins to move, slowly, a student or Sleppy will say, “No getting in the cookie jar.”

Then, the robot stops, “looks” left and right, then begins to move again. The person running the robot will then yell, “Hey! I told you not to get in the cookie jar!” The robot will then stop and “cry.”

“Lego Mindstorms is a program we use to design robots,” said senior Evan Ober, also a student in Robotics. “On the computer, there’s different blocks that make your robot do different things, such as move, sense different things, display things on the robot, play sounds, etc.”

Different sensors that the robots can have include sensitivity to light, sound, rotation and touch. And with a sensor called the ultrasonic sensor, robots can sense when there is something in front of them.

Why is it important to use technology in a classroom?

Sleppy said, “Technology is everywhere in this generation; kids need to see and use it.”

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