Five Bayside High School students recently won a four-day trip to Washington, DC, based on their awareness campaign for child soldiers and international justice.
The students beat out four other teams from the metropolitan area to win the trip, where they joined others from across the country to present their projects.
The Bayside HS students, all members of the school’s Red Cross Chapter, are Jai Punjwani of Floral Park, a senior; Sharon Braich of Bayside, a senior; Evelyn Santos of Bayside, a junior; Sammuel Kim of Bayside, a junior; and Dennis Ahn of Bayside, a junior. Kanhong Lin of Brooklyn, a Red Cross volunteer, was the group’s team leader.
In a telephone interview, Punjwani said his group prepared a pamphlet for students about International Humanitarian Law to protect civilians and regulate the methods of warfare.
“We also made class presentations and a public service announcement,” Punjwani said. “It had a big impact on the student body, especially the use of children soldiers. The response was very emotional.”
He believes that if enough efforts are made, a real impact can be made. “Over the course of this project, my team members and I made presentations to over 300 students and have used social media as well to raise awareness for child soldiers.
“After our campaign, many students and teachers have been talking about this issue and have been interested in learning more,” Punjwani said.
He said the trip to Washington was wonderful and he and his team enjoyed hearing presentations from other groups. Each team had 25 minutes to showcase its work.
“It was the best trip of my life,” Punjwani said. “Our team bonded on the train ride.”
While in the capitol, the group toured the Vietnam War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, Red Cross headquarters and the White House. Members also had time for soccer, volley ball and basketball.
The senior, who will be heading to Adelphi University in the fall, plans to continue his work with the Red Cross.
For more information on the program, go to Redcross.org.