Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 6500

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: The Foreign Relations Experience
Category: 6. History of Foreign Relations

School: Menchville High School
    Newport News, Virginia, United States

3 students, ages 17, 17, 17 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on March 14, 2011. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): One

Classes and Teachers: Mr. Arram Dreyer, Steven, Andrea, Harley

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

Steven, Andrea, and Harley, two high school seniors and a junior respectively, are each seventeen years of age and attend Menchville High School. We all joined up to do this project because of our inherent interest in the impact of foreign relations in the world and in our own personal lives. In an increasingly globalizing world, understanding the nature of foreign policies and international relations is becoming a more important skill asset in most countries. We thought it prudent to be able to display our knowledge and comprehension of these international events, and the Doors to Diplomacy Project afforded the opportunity to do so. Our division of labor proved to be effective: Steven and Andrea were in complete control of content. They wrote all of the online information, wrote the scripts for, and performed in all of the videos. Harley’s task was to create the website and edit all of the videos: no easy task. Our sponsor Arram Dreyer provided guidance on how to proceed and encouragement to press on with the project during the dull areas of work. It is known that without every member and the sponsor, this project would not have happened. Finally, Mr. Doering, our school's media specialist helped us tap into the technology available to us in our school's library, such as the camera and the filming studio with the teleprompter.

2. Summary of Our Project

The Foreign Relations Experience is a comprehensive compilation of the two most important foreign policy events in the following regions: North America, Latin and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Using these twelve events, the goal is to give those who visit the website a deeper and more extensive understanding of the events that have defined the world within the last 100 years.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:2-3

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

There were two main problems that we faced, one of them a constant and the other was only for a moment. Steven and Andrea are in a number of Advanced Placement and Honors classes and had to make the time within their tight schedules to write the content and record the videos. The second issue was during the start of the filming, Steven and Andrea had scripts but had trouble speaking without error for more than a minute. This technological issue was solved by a teleprompter. They both had to write their own scripts, but they overcame such with hard work.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

This project has caused a great impact on the future of our International Relations and social studies curriculum. Many teachers in our own school are extremely excited to be able to use this website as a teaching tool in their future classrooms.

6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

The course objectives for our International Relations/American Foreign Policy class were to “understand how nations, multi-national corporations or organizations, and other institutions interact through reading, writing, and discussion.” The class focuses primarily on studying theories in international relations, debating current global events, and learning the history of American foreign policy. Though the Doors to Diplomacy project was not directly a part of our curriculum, researching various topics that were important to foreign policy corresponded to the subject, and enabled us to grasp a better understanding of what historical events influenced our world today. The class also focuses heavily on the use of technology for research, projects, and tests. Creating a website definitely helped improve our technological skills. We were able to work closely with teachers and other students in order to expand our knowledge on the topics, and also to look at issues from different perspectives. The large amount of support from our school community was gratifying; and we were pleased to learn that teachers and other officials were proud and encouraging of our aspiration to build an informative teaching tool while growing as world thinkers.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your Doors to Diplomacy project?

For this project, we used a variety of tools. To start, we used a great deal of computers in multiple locations to write the content and edit the website. Without computers in multiple locations to write, we would never have had the time to complete the writing and editing necessary for this project. Thumb drives, another tool, worked hand in hand with the computers. Another useful tool was a scanner, used to copy the letters from the Mayor of Newport News and one of our school's teachers. This helped us achieve the proven authenticity necessary for this project. For our videos, we filmed with mounted cameras in our school's library behind a green screen to enable the use of backgrounds. The video editing allowed for this. But perhaps the most clutch tool of all was the teleprompter. Without the teleprompter, the project would not be what it is. We would have had to spend countless hours rehearsing lines for filming. This was not a practical option, due to the extensive nature of historical foreign policy. Thankfully, the teleprompter program on the computer allowed us to film at speeds exponential to our expectations. We would like to especially thank Mr. Doering for his technological expertise. Programs used include: Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, and iMovie.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your Doors to Diplomacy project both on-line and in person.

Working on the Doors to Diplomacy project allowed us to connect with many members of our community. We worked hard to contact state and local government officials, while representing our high school in a respectable manner. Thankfully, access to the internet made the process easier. A major part of our project was contacting local officials and asking for their input on five important foreign policy events from the past century that they felt greatly impacted our world today. We received responses from local teachers, delegates, and city council members that not only answered our request, but also strongly expressed their excitement and approval of our project. Teachers from our school have been notified about our project and we hope that, once complete, it will prove to be a useful, educational tool in their classrooms.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

When those in our community see the work we have accomplished with our project, we hope that they will walk away from the work and wonder how exactly world events have affected our own city in the past. For instance, the Cold War has had a profound impact on the Hampton Roads area, due to its high military and military industry presence. Perhaps they will understand some more of the foreign policy decisions and events that have so defined the nation. Also, the mayor of our city recognized our project, and we have hopes that he will promote our achievement and encourage members of our community to take a look. Furthermore, the history teachers who are knowledgeable of the project anticipate that the project will be useful as a teaching tool. There are few ways that one can impact education more than leaving behind a legacy that those who follow can learn from themselves. Lastly, our parents are proud that we have taken time out of school in order to focus on a project that will better our peers and our community. All sets of parents have always believed service to be an important attribute in the development of our maturity. In every way, this project has allowed us to tap into the road to the rest of our lives.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

The largest motivator for this project was our teacher sponsor, Arram Dreyer. As our International Relations teacher, he is the one that originally introduced the project to us and helped us plan the website. There is no way we could have completed the entire project without the use of his resources and insight. Another key participant in our project was Menchville High School’s Head Librarian, Tom Doering. The video clips we filmed were done with the help of Mr. Doering and the rest of Menchville’s media crew. They assisted us with the necessary equipment needed to successfully shoot and edit the videos. Lastly, we would like to thank all teachers and government officials that took time out of their busy schedules to respond to our requests and provided us with their input on which foreign policy events they believed greatly impacted the world; their contributions added much depth to our project and encouraged us to put forth much effort.


View our Doors to Diplomacy Project (Project ID: 6500)

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