The Intersection of Community and Learning

In 2008, Madieu Williams P ’27 P ’28 founded a school in his birth country of Sierra Leone. Madieu visited Grade 2 on Friday to introduce the children to this special school, as the students prepare to become Pen/Zoom Pals with their counterparts in Africa. 

The Abigail D. Butscher Primary School, located in Calaba Town, is named in honor of Madieu’s mother, who was passionate about providing an excellent education to all children. The school currently serves students in PK-Grade 8; however, they just broke ground to add a high school scheduled to open next fall. 

As I watched Madieu engage with the students, it was a delight to observe our Dragons’ excitement for this cultural exchange, which is part of their social studies curriculum. Our students will trade monthly letters as Pen Pals, join group Zoom calls, and maybe even exchange an identity-focused project. 

As a side bonus: Madieu partnered with the University of Maryland’s Engineering and Public Health departments to build a water station for the students and faculty. So, Grade 2 will visit College Park in mid-November to learn more about the STEM technology Abigail D. Butscher employs, and our students will follow up in their own STEM class. 

One of the things I value the most about WES is the richness of our community–it is incredibly diverse in so many ways. Our families work in a wide range of professions; hail from an enormous array of backgrounds, many with formal or informal ties to other countries and cultures; and have different faiths. It brings me tremendous joy when our parents share their unique backgrounds and skills with our students to expand their learning experience.

This project connects many of our values: celebrating the internationalism of our community, building global citizenship, and practicing kindness as we develop new friendships. I’m looking forward to hearing the students’ reflections later this year!


Danny Vogelman
Head of School