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Elementary school students become international ZoomPals

Stockdale Elementary connects with Kenya student
Posted at 5:21 AM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 10:08:40-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Everything is virtual these days but that has actually become a good thing for students at Stockdale Elementary because they’re now using Zoom to meet and learn about people across the globe.

Vivianne is a kindergartener and every week she and her fellow students hop on their computers for something besides class.

"I think it’s a great thing that we’re doing to reach out to somebody on the other side of the world and get to ask them questions," said her mother Erika.

That somebody is Angela. She’s in fifth grade and lives in Kenya. Stockdale Elementary teacher Russ Sempel connected with Angela’s mother, Rosemary, through a mentor group on LinkedIn.

"It was very easy for me and him and the others in that group [to] exchange ideas and share ideas because we were on the same page," said Rosemary.

And one of those ideas was to make Russ’s students “ZoomPals” with Angela.

"I get to learn their culture and everyone’s names. Also I get to have friends," said Angela.

Erika said she enjoys watching Vivianne interact with Angela each week.

“She’s coming out of her shell. Especially during COVID, a lot of people become introverted, and [she's] smiling so it just makes me happy," said Erika.

Rosemary said the weekly Zoom calls are educational for everyone.

“They discuss different activities. They talk about different countries. They talk about different cultures," she said.

A silver lining in the midst of COVID-19.

“In the process of everything that we’re going through, the pandemic and the sadness with it, something very beautiful comes with it," said Rosemary.

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