Montessori Charter School students take on hunger project...

While some have it nice others have only water and rice at Oxfam Banquet

As a part of the Leadership programs at Soldotna Montessori Charter School, many of the intermediate students hosted an Oxfam Hunger Banquet to highlight their work on topics regarding poverty and hunger both locally and globally. "People drew a card from a hat and it told them what group they would be in for the night. Some people were in the low income group and they had to sit on the floor and then there was a middle income group and they sat at tables, and the high income group had silverware and table clothes, candles, flowers, nice chairs and a delicious meal," explained Montessori 6th grader Levi Benner.

"As part of Dr. Maria Montessori's beliefs: If we are to achieve world peace, we need to consciously work on educating children to be citizens of the world. This was the focus of this leadership project and their work at the Oxfam Hunger Banquet. Forty Eight students in the intermediate classes (4th, 5th, and 6th) did individual and group research, volunteered at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, made informative pamphlets regarding local/world statics on poverty and hunger as well as made pottery bowls that were auctioned at their highlighted grand finale," said Katie Archer Olson owner/directress of the Learning Tree Montessori in Soldotna.

"The poor group only had rice and water for dinner, and the water had a fly in it. It was awful, but a lesson I won't forget," commented Jessica McDowell another Montessori student. "We worked on this for about a month in school and I've learned that every six seconds a child dies of hunger in the world and that I wouldn't want that to be me," added student Ben Snow. According to Katie Olson the Oxfam Hunger Banquet offered several students an opportunity to speak on specific demographics regarding hunger, adult speakers shared their experiences about the work of the students and national/international service opportunities, as well as listened to the guest speaker Pegge Erkeneff, a local author and a communications specialist at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, as she inspired them on issues regarding how and where they could place their attention, action, and advocacy. One student Dalton Goniotakis was honored by Montessori teacher Terri Carter for his individual accomplishment of raising over $500 by himself to benefit the efforts at the Food Bank. "He could not bear to think that there were kids without healthy snacks or birthday cakes so he set out on a mission and accomplished it!" said Carter.

Close to 100 people attended the banquet and the students raised approximately $2000 with all proceeds benefiting the local Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, specifically birthday bags and healthy snacks. Soldotna Montessori Charter School is a Free Public School within The Kenai Peninsula School District aiming to inspire young people to have the knowledge and skills to be local as well as global citizens of peace.