By Sulaiha Olatunji, buildOn Youth Engagement Zone Manager
buildOn freshman at Philadelphia’s Youth Engagement Zone at Furness High School have been exploring different styles of writing that incorporate issues of coming of age and cultural identity. After reading Sandra Cisneros’ “House on Mango Street” and Sherman Alexi’s “Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian”, students wrote vignettes about their own experiences in the style of these authors, and interviewed their peers at the high school to learn more about their diverse community. The first interview that students conducted was with their principal.
Principal Daniel Peou, a native of Cambodia, has a unique relationship to Furness and South Philadelphia, as well as a deep appreciation for service and global education. Here is some of what he shared with the students.