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HCC's Math Instructor Chuckie Hairston taught a three-day workshop to private school teachers in Honduras during the summer. Pictured above are the workshop participants.

Halifax Community College Math Instructor Chuckie Hairston made a trip to the country of Honduras over the summer break. During the trip, she stayed in the town of Catacamas.

Her journey started five years ago when she visited a small village in the country on a mission trip. Hairston toured a public school, since she had taken school supplies for the children. While at the school, the class' teacher worked through a math problem, but Hairston observed that she did it incorrectly. This incident bothered her and she decided that she had to do something about it.

One of the poorest countries in Central America, Honduran public schools are viewed as less than exemplary and often are not open to outsiders trying to provide instructional help. As an alternative, some private schools have been established to provide a better education for children.

Last fall, Hairston approached a representative from Houghton Mifflin and asked for donated math manipulative kits and a few other supplies to take with her to help the people in the valley. She received the donation and knew that she was again bound for Honduras.

Hairston had contact with a young man that she had known at N.C. State University, who now lives in Honduras. He made connections for her to visit with private school teachers from two schools. The Center for Bilingual Learning, one of the schools, hosted her while she was in the country. She taught nine teachers during the workshop, which lasted for three days and was conducted in the mornings. She used the donated materials, and incorporated hands-on activities and group work.

“I wanted to show them some other teaching techniques,” said Hairston. All total, she took 30 different activities. After the workshop, she was asked to return next summer. “I am planning to go back,” she said. Her hope is to teach a group of teachers who can then instruct other teachers, reaching those in private and public schools.

“They wanted all of the activities in English,” she added. “It was a wonderful trip and I was well taken care of. The Hondurans are extremely nice people.” Hairston and her husband are also sponsoring a child who lives in that area.