Mater Dei Students Address UN General Assembly

September 28, 2017
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Senior Katelyn Grano and sophomore Karen Nortz were two of the presenters of Mater Dei Prep’s service project, The Education Tool Kit, during the 2017 International Day of Peace at the United Nations.

By Rebecca Roth |

Middletown – Students from the Mater Dei Prep Emerging Global Leaders Program presented their service project, The Education Tool Kit, to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 15 during the 2017 International Day of Peace Conference.

The project – one of 10 selected from worldwide submissions for presentation to the U.N. – benefits refugees around the world who are forced into migration and dovetailed perfectly with the theme of the conference: “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for ALL.”

Based on the idea that education often stops when children are forced to flee their homes due to war and terrorism, The Education Tool Kit contains lesson plans which can be sent to these children to help them continue their schooling and build a better future. Also available are digital lesson plans, donated by schools and teachers, which are housed on the project’s website and can be accessed by anyone. Only a few months old, the website will eventually host interactive discussion boards, mentoring programs, and opportunities for peer assistance for any child as The Education Tool Kit continues to grow.

During the 2017 International Day of Peace, 30 students from the Mater Dei Prep Emerging Global Leaders program presented to, asked questions of, and spoke with leaders and students from around the world.

“Hopefully this will impact the lives of refugee children whose only desire is stability and the continuation of their educational dreams,” said George Anthony, Emerging Global Leaders coordinator and United Nations NGO Pathways To Peace representative. “Our students understand their role in trying to make that happen and my goal is to provide the platform to create the change they wish to see in the world.”

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“Listening to students my age creating such life-changing projects that can make a huge difference in the lives of young refugees was inspiring,” said MDP senior Madeline Brew. “It inspired me to start looking at the bigger picture and how I could help those struggling in everyday life.”

During the conference Mater Dei Prep students also heard speeches by Anto‘nio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations; U.N. Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall; and U.N. Secretary General Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake. MDP students had the opportunity to engage with students from the U.N. Consulate in Bogota‘, Colombia to discuss the end of their country’s 50-year civil war which brought rebel FARC combatants into the governmental peace process.

Seniors Caecilia Altenburg and John DiBrita were among the four MDP students who were allowed to address Secretary General Guterres and the Colombian Consulate with questions and concerns about war, politics and sustainable peace. They discussed global development and how youth can continue to play a role in solutions to global problems.

After presenting their project to the U.N., the students from the Emerging Global Leaders program were anxious to continue developing The Education Tool Kit project and website. They are seeking donations of lesson plans in science, math, financial literacy, English as a second language, leadership development, western civilization, and European history, for grades K-12. More information on The Education Tool Kit and how to donate lesson plans can be found at

This article was first published in the Sept. 21-28, 2017 print edition of the Two River Times.

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