Asbury Park, NJ – What’s happening on the other side of the tracks in Asbury Park? Besides the revitalization in the downtown area on the East Side, an Asbury Park 7th grade social studies teacher wants the community to know there’s enrichment, culture, and education happening right in the city’s middle school on the West Side.
Every week, David Wronko’s 7th grade class at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School holds educational sessions with students in Ghana, located in Western Africa. During these sessions, students take turns to provide lessons on each other’s culture and history. The sessions allow students in Asbury Park to become cultured in the African experience and vice versa for the students in Ghana at the Oiada International Academy.
On Friday, January 12th, Asbury Park students gave a black history presentation leading in songs by the middle school’s chorus directed by music teacher Yvette Elgart, followed by a presentation on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in observance of the national holiday. David Wronko also invited veterans to participate in the session where students in Ghana were able to ask them questions. Wronko says occasionally he asks community members to come to the sessions to share in the experience and also show what the students are accomplishing.
Once their presentations were complete, the Asbury Park students were introduced to King Teepor of Ghana, watched a traditional greeting of a king, and were able to ask King Teepor questions.
How many students can say they get to engage educationally with students in another country? Not only does this program provide enrichment to its students, both group of students thoroughly enjoy learning about different cultures and their history. It was exciting watching a Ghanaian student smile with joy when learning his artwork was published in a national magazine here in America.
This is what the educational experience is all about.
Check out some highlights below from the Ghana Session on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. :
Music Teacher: Yvette Elgart
Chorus Students sang: “LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING” by James Weldon Johnson and “The
Greatest” by Sia
Mr. Wronko’s Dream Academy Students
Alejandra Garcia Chavez
Principal Supervisor of this event: Mr. Gerbino
Vice Principals: Zakiya Del Orbe and Melissa S. Lopusznick
Otis Love: Vietnam Veteran
Alfonso Freda: Korean War Veteran
Wilbur V. Martin, Vietnam Veteran
Lou Parisi: World War II Veteran