June 7, 2017

International Students at STMA: Building Bridges Across Cultures


by Milena Topalova, Regional Academic Manager of Academic Services

Magnolia, Delaware might not be the first place you think of when you talk about cultural diversity, but a private school called Saint Thomas More Academy (STMA) has become a home and place of expansion for not only several international students, but also for everyone part of this small community.

At the head of this initiative are 12 international students from China and Korea lead by their international student cambridge networkCambridge Network CPLC (College Preparation Language and Culture) teacher, Ms. Casey Cashdollar.

The international students at the school have taken charge and are the sole writers and editors of the school’s newsletter. They highlight school events, interview students and teachers to share their perspectives, write comics and cover the school’s accomplishments in sports, and create captivating content for their community to enjoy.

Part of the newspaper is a blog where students share stories about their journey, challenges, and success. They foster a sense of community in a fun and engaging way, often taking part in events by sharing facts about their culture and lives back home.

Along with the school’s acknowledgement, they also received recognition for their efforts in a statewide newsletter. Recently, they were featured for representing the school and talking about cultural diversity to students from the Delaware Technical and Community College (DTCC).

See an excerpt outlining their achievements below.

STMA Goes to DTCC

Thank you to sophomores Sunny (Seonmi) Choi, Ellie (Seoyoung) Kim, junior Jason (Depeng) Chen, and senior Lilian (Xinyue) Zhang for representing STMA on the campus of Delaware Technical and Community College on Thursday, November 3. They worked with our ELL Instructor, Mrs. Casey Cashdollar, to create presentations and games for local college students to better understand Chinese and Korean culture. Their language skills and outgoing personalities shined! Thank you also to the Gphomestay Coordinator, Danielle Craig, for supporting our students at this event.”

Our students at STMA have gained a lot of popularity among the other students at the school and are thriving in their role of ambassadors for expansion, diversity, community engagement, and leadership. We look forward to seeing more Cambridge Network international students leading initiatives to further their education, promote cultural diversity, and invite their peers to learn more about their journey.

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Milena Topalova

Milena Topalova

Milena Topalova is the Regional Academic Manager for the Northeast region. She leads a team of teachers who work with our international students in about 30 of our partner schools. She has been with Cambridge Network for close to three years. Milena has a degree in Applied Linguistics and a Master's in Journalism from Emerson College. She was a News Writer and teacher for years before she joined Cambridge Network. Yoga and salsa dancing are some of her favorite hobbies. Milena is passionate about communication and education. Her mission is to empower and inspire students to be the best that they can possibly be.
Milena Topalova

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