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State Honoree

Elizabeth Bowles

District Of Columbia

Elizabeth Bowles, 18, of Washington, D.C., a senior at Washington International School, developed an after-school foreign-language tutoring program for students at a local elementary school. Elizabeth, who began learning French when she was just 3 years old, was surprised to discover that many elementary schools in the District of Columbia do not offer foreign language instruction. "I wanted to share the unique experience I had," she said. "I thought exposing children to another language would give them a chance to see a broader view of the world, just as it had for me."Elizabeth had little trouble persuading a school in her neighborhood to let her introduce an after-school tutoring program. She then recruited other students at her high school to join her in tutoring, and developed a curriculum that emphasized fun activities such as interactive games and art projects. "I wanted the children to have fun playing' with language," she said. When a fellow student expressed interest in being a Spanish tutor, Elizabeth expanded the program to include Spanish. Now, 15 tutors work with about 20 children for an hour each Friday afternoon. She is also training a group of high school sophomores to run the program so that it continue and possible expand in future years.