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From Deerfield to Calcutta: A Student Service Opportunity

Allison Gruneich ’13 has worked for several months to create a service trip to India for Deerfield students.

This past summer, Gruneich spent four weeks in India, splitting her time between Calcutta and Ladakh on what she called a “test run” for the Deerfield-sponsored program she is helped to engineer.

Gruneich’s interest in this project began after her freshman year when she participated in student trip focusing on environmental sustainability in India.

Her love for India led her to Associate Head of School Martha Lyman, with whom she has been working for several months to design a trip that would consist of touring and teaching experiences that mirror her own.

In Ladakh, Gruneich taught at SECMOL, a school that began, Gruneich said, “as a campaign movement to encourage education in the area.”

“The students there are all tenth graders who failed their board exams because their English was so poor,” she explained. “They couldn’t make it to the eleventh grade.”

SECMOL, one of the schools at which Deerfield students would teach, also features an impressive self-sustaining campus. According to Gruneich, the campus “has animals, farmland, and solar panels, and they buy hardly anything.”

“I really love India, and have never been happier than then I was there,” said Gruneich. “I believe in these initiatives to promote English education there, and I want other students to have the same amazing experience I did.”

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