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Crossing a divide

Three high school students’ collaboration with two English students will come to fruition with a trip abroad.

March 30, 2009|By Alan Blank

Three Coastline Community College’s Early College High School students are headed on an all-expenses-paid trip to England this summer after winning a campus-wide contest to design a website about global warming.

Ramon Calderon, Kayla Donohue and Donovan Farmer, all 17, worked as a team, along with two students from North Lindsey College in England, to design a web page with information about climate change and tips for being more environmentally conscious.

Despite an eight-hour time difference and thousands of miles between them, the students collaborated across the Atlantic to create a sophisticated website.

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“Working as a team and trying to get this done was really hard, and now I’m shaking,” Donovan said after being told his team had won.

He has never been out of the country before.

Written in a simple and colloquial style, the page aims to give viewers a cursory history of global warming, its causes and things that might help combat future consequences.

It includes a dozen video interviews with randomly selected local people to whom the kids posed questions in an attempt to find out what the populous thinks about climate change.

“Our site is supposed to inform the public so we wanted to see what people already knew,” Ramon said.

A map of Orange County shows which coastal areas would flood if the sea were to rise six meters (Costa Mesa, as the students noted, would be mostly safe while neighboring towns would be wiped out).

Stephanie Pacheco, an environmental expert and one of the judges, said the winning team’s website stuck out because of “originality backed up by good scientific data.”

The transatlantic collaboration was the idea of Coastline Community College President Ding-Jo Currie, who said she wanted to make the cultural exchange program into more than just an opportunity for kids to go on vacation.

“I would really like a partnership to have breadth and depth,” Currie said. “This partnership is not just unique to our district, but elsewhere as well.”

The partnership extends beyond just the global warming exercise.

A group of eight British business students from the same college will travel to Coastline in the coming days to take business classes, meet with leaders of local companies and learn about American enterprise.


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