Channahon Teacher Kate Regis Serves as Cultural Ambassador for Students
Channahon Junior High School teacher Kate Regis' work as an international ambassador for the People to People program helps students get a cross-cultural travel experience.
Kate Regis brings teaching ideas to her classroom from around the globe.
The Channahon Junior High School teacher has lead groups of student ambassadors on trips to Australia, Great Britain, and France as an ambassador for the People to People program.
The People to People program was started by American President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s.
It remains, said Regis, an experience to introduce students to diverse cultures.
“(People to People) affords the students the opportunity to immerse themselves in diverse cultures," she said. "The itineraries provide inspiring and enlightening adventures, from home stays (in the homes of natives of the countries), repelling off the side of a castle, to learning to do the Scottish folk dance “Strip the Willow."
Students apply for the program and must undergo an interview and pre-travel meetings, said Regis.
In her experience, which began in 2007, Regis has accompanied both groups of fifth and sixth graders, and seventh and eighth graders.
“Imagine a classroom of 40 kids that travel, eat, and sleep together," she said. "As a leader, you are on the clock 24/7. The activities are culturally rich and diverse. We have danced with Aborigines, played in an Irish bog, and toured the palace in Versailles. Each activity is explored before travel so that the students can better appreciate the depth of their experiences. I myself have become a World War Two history nut since my participating in People to People."
Regis said that the People to People tours are given “Blue Ribbon” tour guides that are schooled in sharing their culture.”
“Their insights are invaluable and I must say our Ambassadors are a rapt audience,” she added.
Regis said the experience is carried into her teaching. She has gotten to observe classrooms in other countries, and incorporate what she learned to her own classroom.
“It can be very overwhelming to be very far away from all you know and thrust into this fast paced cultural whirlwind," she said. "It’s exciting to focus the Ambassadors to an appreciation of their experiences. Helping them relate to the historical and cultural significance of their travels, their learning. It has afforded me the opportunity to share these experiences with my own classes.”