Forging Global Friendships

EDISON — Fifth grade students at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in North Edison have been communicating over the past few months through postcards and e-mail with students at Amuri Area School in Culverden, New Zealand, Principal Sparling School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and Knockmay School in Portlaoise, Ireland as part of a unique EPALS program.

Tre Allen of Parlin reported that, through his e-mails with students in New Zealand and Ireland, he has become intrigued by different cultures and is now eager to explore other parts of the world. One of his EPALS lives in a town with only 650 residents, while Allen shared with his new friend that he lives in a town with 40,000 citizens.


Zaiir Talmadge of Elizabeth added that he has learned how children in his EPALS’ country participate in different sports, such as bull-riding. Robyn Stewart of South Plainfield noted, “It is interesting because we are different but we still have some of the same favorites. Like, one of my favorite singers is Taylor Swift and my EPAL likes Taylor Swift too.”

Fifth grade teacher Nicole Nolan of Bridgewater said, “The children are really learning a lot about kids their own age around the world. They have been working on a PowerPoint presentation exchange with our friends in New Zealand in which they share about what it is like to live in New Jersey and the United States.”

Vicky Tumati of Iselin shared details about her PowerPoint, which features pages about the history of New Jersey, the presidents of the United States, images of historical events such as George Washington crossing the Delaware, and favorite places to visit such as Six Flags Great Adventure and the Menlo Park Mall.

The students, who were excitedly opening emails from their EPALS at the time, reported that their communication with their peers in Canada, New Zealand and Ireland has broadened their global view and inspired them to embrace the world around them – both the similarities and the differences.

Vicky Tumati of Iselin, Emily Kuchinski of South Plainfield and Divyaa Sarin of Edison work on the PowerPoint presentations that detail life in New Jersey and the United States, and will be sent to their EPALS in New Zealand. Photo by Michelle Daino/Wardlaw-Hartridge

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