On To Zimbabwe as Washington High and Rydings College Collaboration Prepares Next Phase
HOUSTON– It is said that the Mother Africa experience stimulates an indescribable connection with a rich heritage history and powerful ancestors.
For Dr. Carlos R. Phillips II, his Africa experience left him not only with a greater appreciation for simple things taken for granted in America, but also moved his spirit to want to make a difference in the developing nation of Zimbabwe.
The Booker T. Washington High School principal is on a global mission to bring a total of 70 students together from both his school and from Karoi, Zimbabwe to work on a joint project to provide better access to electricity using wind power and increased water and filtration resources in the region.
“Seeing the things we did over there caused me to want to be a difference maker,” he said. “Training these kids to work together in a global learning exchange provides greater understanding of global issues and builds alliances that help improve the quality of life for the people there.”
He recalled being in the country and walking down the street seeing women and small children carrying buckets of water and it dawned on him that Americans are very blessed and it inspired his dream to connect the youth and make a difference in that African nation.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa known for its dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife, much of it within parks, reserves and safari areas. However, much in lacking in the area of proving adequate electricity and water in a growing and diverse economy.
Reflecting, Phillips shared his perceptions of the people and students from that country and was impressed about their love for learning, America and education.
“Lights on or lights off, these kids are serious about their education,” he said. “They desire to better themselves, have a lasting connection with America and improve living conditions in their homeland.”
However, according to Phillips, the heart, desire and the plans for implementing the project are in place, but making it a reality is the greatest challenges the students face.
One of the greatest obstacles to fulfilling Phillip’s dream for his students and the African students is funding the effort.
“We have to raise $150,000 by October 16th in order to make this happen,” he said. “I believe this is a project that takes Booker T Washington students to the next level because it is the first steps in creating a school where we create global students and global graduates who will have better understanding of world views and how to impact society and make a difference.”
The Houston Independent School District supports the collaboration, but is unable to help fund the global student initiative.
The plan is an extension of a collaboration between BTW students and Zimbabwe-Rydings College students that was started earlier this year.
Earlier this year, the students came from Africa, visited and worked with the students on water and electricity projects and that along with Phillip’s trip to Africa helped shape and develop the idea to do the quality of life improvement project.
Rydings students visited Houston for the purpose of learning more about science and technology
During that time, about 50 classmates to took part in the first international collaborative learning project between Rydings College, and Booker T. Washington High School.
Since the visit the collaboration has continued and has remained serious and strong with the two groups staying in contact via email and Skype and are planning and laying out the next phases of the project.
Phillips is hoping that corporations, churches and individuals who support children and educations will step forward in a big way to help fund this great effort to build economic bridges, nurture future diplomatic efforts and help offer hope for the future for the people living in those cities and villages.
Vision and Mission
“We expect our students to push themselves academically, intellectually, and socially in preparation for leadership in an ever-changing global society,” Phillips said. “We encourage our students to take full advantage of every opportunity to look at the world through informed eyes and broaden their horizons by actively embracing our school culture.”
Phillips said the plan is to use the funding to help fund 30 students from the school’s STEM Program, Engineering Magnate and traditional programs along with 10 faculty members to make the trip and travel to the country and roll up sleeves to work with 35 students from Zimbabwe on wind and water projects that each group has been communicating and working together on it for the past year.
The focus will be on making the improvements using a wind turbine to generate electricity and creating a process that will result in improved water filtration techniques.
“I believe this is an experience that is an investment in leadership that will take the students to the next level,” he said. “It is important that our children know and understand how others live and survive around the world. This firsthand look will truly be an eyeopening experience.”
Rydings College is a vibrant and growing institution that has managed to stay true to its founding goals during the course of a long and distinguished history.
It houses School of Maths, Science and Technology for Boys & Girls aged 3 to 18.
As a school motto Rydings College strives to produce, “Learners who share! Leaders Who Dare! Citizens Who Care!”
Founded in 1982, Rydings brought together over 200 workers from Karoi, Chinhoyi and Harare who took part in the school’s construction. The school was built through the conversion of the existing infrastructure to the dormitories and classrooms that make up the Rydings of today.
The physical address of the school is located at 209km peg along the Harare-Chirundu road in Karoi. The institution is also a trust school that was founded by those keen to better their local community through the provision of quality education in its broadest form.
Since its founding, Rydings has produced the best results and competed with the best schools throughout the district and now, the Country.
The school is a dynamic school that seeks to nurture moral values, self-discipline and self-esteem in the happy atmosphere that we create. We aim to develop each child to their fullest potential, equipping them with the necessary skills for life. We strive to provide the best education that brings forth a clear road to success for our students through our sound policy and action.
As preparations are underway, Phillips said Booker T Washington is planning two key events leading up to the Oct 16 fundraising deadline in hopes of meeting that $150,000 goal.
On Sept.7 at 6:30 p.m., the school will showcase its engineering program and have a rally and provide key details about the Zimbabwe trip and project.
A second more formal Black tie event will be held Sept. 22 at 6:30. It will invite community leaders, corporate leaders and other supporters for a formal event to help raise funds, support and give progress updates on the status of the joint effort.
Again, the goal of taking several of our engineering and leadership students and a select group of teachers to Zimbabwe in November 2017, to continue the project development and collaborative learning will be possible with your contributions.
“I believe this will inspire and provide kids with life changing aspirations,” he said. “It is my hope that the community and supporters will come together, make a difference and invest in these youth. It will change worlds.”
To make a donation, you can visit the schools website at: https://www.schoolpay.com/pay/for/NIWAUNAZimbabwe-Project/IdBzW
Your contribution will help support our efforts in collaborating on STEM activity between Booker T. Washington High School and Rydings College in Zimbawe and help enhance student learning and social development on an international level.
Students of Zimbabwe will continue the work, that will teach them the impact of developing the Wind Turbine and Water Quality/Filtration Systems Project, that will be used to support Zimbabwe.
“Booker T. Washington High School has a proud history,” he said. “Seeing how these young minds have worked together and have made this happen, it has taught me to dream again.”
According to Phillips, the students are learning and look forward to the next steps in the process and the opportunity to make the wind turbines and bring better water purification to the country.
By: Darwin Campbell