York County School Students Video Chat with Russian Students


Several sophomore students at Dallastown High School used Skype to connect with middle school students in St. Petersburg Russia early Thursday morning.  The video conference was designed to bridge the gap between the two nations, and allow the students to get to know each other.  Dallastown sophomore Garrett Forrester organized the video conference with Olga Smirnov, a friend of Forrester who lives in St. Petersburg Russia.  Forrester says, "I feel like a lot of kids would really appreciate having the experience of being able to sit in a room and being in communication with someone who is across the ocean in a different country and from a different culture.”  During the video conference the students chattted about technology, music, homework, and literature.  Teacher Ken Witmer’s honors English class also used the opportunity to discuss literature.  He says, “It's an exciting event.  It’s an exciting possibility and experience to talk about either American literature or world literature, which is what we`re studying with people from across the globe.  How exciting for me as well as our kids.  It`s a great opportunity.”   Student Emilie Henry enjoyed the experience of talking with students overseas.  “I think it was a really great experience getting to talk with somebody whose life is so much different than yours, and so many different things.  We actually found out that it’s actually a lot of the same things, and I think that`s cool as well.”  York County State Representatives Keith Gillespie and Ron Miller were on hand for the event too.  Both saw it as a unique chance to use technology to foster international relations.  Gillespie says, "It’s absolutely heartwarming to see the smiles on their faces and the interest that they both had.  I think this goes a long way with enhancing our international relations.”  Miller says, "I think it just proves that people are not so different around the world and we need think like this to foster that understanding."  The video conference event was an extension of ongoing work being done by the International Martial Arts College and York Shotokan Karate School based in York County, which have been fostering relations with Nikolai Smirnov and IMAC Russia for the past 20 years.  Forrester says, “It`s bringing the students together.  It’s a student to student bond and I think that they`re going to hold onto it for a long time and I know our class is going to hold onto it just as long.”  The hope is to conduct more video conferences on different subjects in the future.

Go back