PLAINFIELD — Mount Saint Mary Academy junior Carly Whitmer of Scotch Plains was recently honored with the Girl Scout Gold Award, one of the highest honors the organization can bestow on its members. Whitmer received this special recognition as the result of a unique educational project she created aimed at helping area children.
Whitmer, who studies world languages at Mount Saint Mary, created and ran a 17-week basic skills enrichment and foreign language instruction program at Stillman Elementary School in Plainfield. She worked closely with the Academy’s Latin teacher, Jennifer Larson, in developing the program.
“It brings together children from all areas of the financial and emotional spectra,” said Whitmer of the project. Each week, she and a number of her friends visited Stillman after their own classes to tutor students. They aimed to help students better understand their homework by providing individualized attention based on each student’s unique needs. They also offered instruction in Latin, Italian, and French, teaching students new skills above and beyond their current course work.
“It was especially helpful that most of the children were bilingual,” said Whitmer. “They were able to notice connections well, for example grazie and gratias ago.”
In addition to making lessons informative, Whitmer and her friends aimed at making them fun by incorporating projects and activities. In one Latin lesson, for instance, Stillman students and their Mount instructors dressed as ancient Romans so students could better understand a culture in which the language was spoken.
Mount Saint Mary Academy is a Catholic, independent school which provides a college preparatory education for young women in grades 9 through 12.
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