Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 7068

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Haiti Ocean Project
Category: 7. Health and the Environment

School: Riviera Beach Maritime Academy
    Riviera Beach, Florida, USA

4 students, ages 16-18 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on March 5, 2012. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): 2011

Classes and Teachers: Jamie Aquino, Samantha, Chris, Cassandra, Shadrak, Mendy

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

The Haiti Ocean Project was formed after our teacher and mentor, Ms. Jamie Aquino, traveled to Haiti to explore the possibility of establishing a marine mammal eduation and research project there. This is the collaboration of youth from Haiti and Florida who, along with Ms. Aquino, believe in the project and want to see Haiti's ocean and marine life protected and valued. Now that we are in the process of designing our marine facility and in the final stages of enacting marine mammal legislation, we decided it was the appropriate time to create a website for the Haiti Ocean Project.

The website responsibilities are as follows: Chris (17) and Samantha (18), both students in Riviera Beach, Florida are responsible for writing some of the content, editing all the content and placement of the text, photos and video. Shadrak (18) and Mendy (16) live in Petite Riviere de Nippes, Haiti and have been responsible for writing some of the text as well as reviewing the website in French.

Samanatha (18) Chris (17) Shadrak (18) Mendy (16)

2. Summary of Our Project

The Haiti Ocean Project was initiated five years ago for the purpose of protecting the vulnerable marine mammals and marine life that are valuable to Haiti's marine environment and sustainable tourism development. We are developing a program of marine education, marine mammal research and ecotourism in Grand Goave, a small fishing village in Haiti. Our project is a collaboration between the youth of two countries, Haiti and the United States. The Haiti Ocean Project not only preserves and renews the quality of our oceans and its inhabitants; we are also reviving and nourishing the economy of a struggling nation.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:21-50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:4-6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

The computers used in Florida have high-speed internet and reliable. The computers used in Haiti were slower and less reliable, so it was necessary to rely on Samantha and Chris for the final editing of the website.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The biggest obstacle that we faced was that our team lives in two different countries and two of our team members, Shadrak and Mendy live in a country with limited internet access. Realizing this, we decided to give them adequate time to work on their portion of the website, which they did. The language was also a factor, as the native language of two team members is English and the native language of the other two team members is French. We solved that problem by allowing the French speaking students (Shadrak and Mendy) to work on the website being translated into French and the English speaking students (Samantha and Chris) to focus on the website in English.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Being involved in Doors to Diplomacy has given us the opportunity to really understand what the word diplomacy means. This was a website created by two different countries, two different cultures, two different languages. For us as students, this competition showed us the power of working together and for our school, Doors to Diplomacy gave us a chance to highlight the amazing Haiti Ocean Project that has become so important to us and to showcase our talents and those of our Haitian counterparts and what we can do if we work together.

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

The project addressed a number of content standards including critical thinking skills, understanding how to analyze and synthesize information and practicing writing and editing of content material. Our curriculum guidelines emphasize writing and reading, and that was a major part of creating this website. We learned how to crop photos and edit videos. As a group, we practiced team viewing so we could work on the website together at the same time. The Haiti Ocean Project is part of our journalism class, so the website and competition fit perfectly into the class. We learned that we can become teachers and leaders, by showing our classmates and schoolmates what they too can accomplish if they put their minds and efforts together. This website taught us real world applications and something that will help us in the future.

Project Elements

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

For creating the website, we used classroom computers, both PC and Macintosh. Shadrak and Mendy used their netbooks that were purchased by Ms. Aquino for the competition. We also used video cameras and digital cameras, as well as Adobe Photoshop and Roxio Creator editing software. We used a variety of books, magazines and interviews. All these tools helped us in the creation of the website. None of these tools were donated, our teacher, Ms. Aquino bought the netbooks for Shadrak and Mendy, as well as the Roxio Creator program to edit the video. Our most valuable tools were the utilization of the editing software to capture the pictures and videos that enhanced the website.

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

As this is a real world project, the students have already become 'ambassadors' for the web project. This is a project that is positive and important for Haiti, and Shadrak and Mendy, have the ability to use this website to promote this special project in their country. We, in the United States, can utilize this web project for the sake of introducing what is still good in Haiti and showcasing the potential that exists in this impoverished country.

We have a number of individuals and organizations who are impressed with and excited about our website and our Haiti Ocean Project. We have already have the involvement of marine artist Guy Harvey and have a meeting next week with Carnival Cruise Line. This website and our project is helping us achieve our ultimate goal of developing a marine education and conservation faciltiy as well as the business of whale and dolphin watching in Haiti.

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

Our project will protect all marine mammals, sharks, rays and sea turtles in Haiti. We will also bring additional income to the fishermen. The world is learning about what we are doing in Haiti, which is important and unique. We recently met with the city council of Riviera Beach and have a meeting next week with Carnival Cruise Lines, so this website is helping us establish new working relationships. We have received so much positive feedback, from our friends, classmates, family and the local community.

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

Jules Hoffman, the husband of the secretary at the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy knows how to build websites, so he became valuable to us in that he helped us facilitate this website and taught us to how to build the website from scratch. We also enlisted the assistance of the government of Haiti and marine biologists who were valuable with their information and insight. We highlighted the foundations and organizations who are supporting us on the website, and it was these groups who helped us the most.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Through this competition and this website, we learned that there is nothing we cannot accomplish with hard work and desire. That hard work is evident with this website, which was built and created with dedication and professionalism. Michel Martelly, the president of Haiti, is acknowledging our project as important for the future of Haiti, as he is signing a presidental decree that members of the Haiti Ocean Project drafted to protect all marine mammals, sharks, rays and sea turtles in Haiti. In addition, our project is being recognized by the Haitian government (Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment) as a worthy and sustainable environmental project for the country of Haiti. For the great work we are doing, we have been invited to be a part of Adobe Youth Voices. We were invited and attended a very prestigious conference in Washington, D.C. hosted by the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), regarding the importance of science education in Haiti.


View our Doors to Diplomacy Project (Project ID: 7068)

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