A Big LEAP for a Small School

Camila K. ’18 is making a big impact on girls 2,200 miles away, and garnering some headlines in the process.
The international language and cultural exchange that Camila created, called LEAP (Learn English and Progress) was featured Friday evening on Telemundo, the second largest Spanish-language network in the U.S., on its signature news program, Noticias Telemundo.
A digital, real-time version of the classic pen pal concept, LEAP connects our Advanced Placement Spanish students with girls in Medillin, Colombia to help them improve language skills and cultural understanding. Telemundo’s Lori Montenegro made several visits to Foxcroft to interview Camila and other student participants, and to see a conversational session in action.
“I am so proud of how these young women are making a difference in the world while expanding their own skills. Camila's project is a model for service learning!” Head of School Cathy McGehee posted after the two-minute segment was broadcast live Friday evening. The piece was also streamed nationally.
Camila wrote about the origin of the LEAP program earlier this year. “In the past, a limited number of people from around the world could meet others, read stories, and become remote friends via snail mail and local school programs that were usually limited and difficult to manage,” she explained. “Today, with the development of technology, we can build such networks in real time.”
Camila conceived of the program several years ago when she lived in Brazil. “I noticed the great difficulties, but also the huge opportunity, for lower income girls to learn and practice English,” she says. “Our goal is not only to practice languages but also to provide both sides with a better understanding of each other’s lives, which will be culturally rich for all participants.”

Last summer, Camila worked in Medellin and presented the plan to the Mayor’s office and to Luis Bernardo Ramirez, the Secretary of Social Affairs for the city. Together, they proceeded to find the right group of students, set up the digital platform, and get the program started. Foxcroft’s World Languages Department Chair, Esther Sanchéz, worked with Camila to identify volunteers among Foxcroft’s Spanish students and set things up from the U.S. side.

Camila has big plans for LEAP. “My goal is to continue to expand this concept,” she says, “and make sure that we build a network that can help educate hundreds of girls from all around the world about different cultures for years to come.”

Help Telemundo TV Achieve 1,000 “Likes” for L.E.A.P. Story

After visiting Foxcroft and covering the L.E.A.P. program, Telemundo producers have expressed interest in returning to do additional stories on unique learning experiences and need our help in giving the L.E.A.P. story even more visibility on Facebook through "likes." Our goal is to have 1,000 "likes" by Wednesday, May 24. Please visit this link to the story's Facebook post and help us achieve our goal. We could be welcoming Telemundo back to Foxcroft very soon!
An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.