In 2015 there was an earthquake in Nepal that destroyed thousands of schools and killed nearly 9,000 people. Since hearing the news, Paul-Antoine Seitz, a senior at K12 International Academy (iCademy) has been passionately working to rebuild one of the earthquake-ravaged schools that was affected.
Paul-Antoine enrolled with iCademy in September 2013 after being dissatisfied by local public and private brick and mortar schools.
“We looked for a curriculum that was both more flexible and more challenging,” said his father, Florence Seitz. “iCademy has let Paul move at his own fast pace, completing high school by age 16.”
Helping others and giving back is one of the Seitz family’s core values.
“It has been ingrained in him since he was very little,” Florence said. “Being an international citizen and having traveled around the world to remote places have all contributed to give him a keen eye and a better understanding of the disparities between countries and cultures. ”
Ever since experiencing an earthquake while living in Tokyo in 2011, Paul-Antoine saw how quickly media coverage of the disaster had ceased. This sparked his interest in learning more and acting by spreading the word.
“All people have the right to health care, food, education, and other basic goods and services,” Paul-Antoine said. “Yet, for billions, these rights are violated on a daily basis. For those of us in the developed
world who benefit from the power imbalances that condemn these people to poverty, we have an obligation to maximize the amount of good we do. How can you create something that will help someone in need?”
After one year of research involving a multi-step process, project proposal, and several case studies, a UNICEF official introduced Paul-Antoine to the education director of COMMITTED Nepal, a Virginia-based non-profit that provides poverty-stricken children access to free, sustainable, mandatory and quality education.
“In partnership with COMMITTED, I have created a Go Fund Me crowdfunding campaign with the goal of rebuilding one school and lessening the strain on COMMITTED’s budget,” Paul- Antoine said. “Unlike other means of fundraising, crowdfunding websites already possess heavy donor traffic, reducing the importance of media coverage. Furthermore, funds can be channeled directly to the recipient organization, bypassing corrupt government bureaucrats.”
The crowdfunding campaign went live in January and raised over $1,000 in the first two months.
“Unfortunately, tepid media coverage of the Nepal earthquake and the emergence of other causes have limited donor interest, and fundraising has stagnated well short of the $100,000 goal,” Paul-Antoine said.
Paul-Antoine is continually searching for more effective and efficient means of raising awareness and disseminating the campaign.
While Paul-Antoine has worked on this project largely outside of school, he has received support on the campaign from his professors and iCademy teachers.
“I collaborated with my English professor to create the text for the campaign’s website, and a few of my professors even made donations,” Paul-Antoine said.
He wouldn’t have been able to work on his fundraising campaign if not for the flexibility of online school. Paul-Antoine works hard to be a high achiever with helping others, as well as in the virtual classroom. This past school year, he took five AP classes.
“Online school is time-intensive and requires students to develop their time-management skills,” Paul-Antoine said. “These skills transfer directly to managing a project encompassing multiple tasks and individuals. In spring 2016, I allocated a set amount of time for academic work on Saturdays, practiced for the SAT on Sunday mornings, and worked on the campaign on Sunday afternoons. Because I could study from home, I had access to the resources and quietude to progress on the campaign during my lunch hour. Unless students in regular high school cafeterias can access computers and are prevented from talking, only online school offers this degree of freedom.”
As a result, he feels far more engaged and responsible for his education and his future than he did in a brick-and-mortar school.
“I relish this sense of involvement and also the greater satisfaction it offers when I do succeed and attain the results I desire,” he said.
Paul-Antoine plans to apply to prestigious colleges such as Princeton, Oxford and the London School of Economics and Business to study international relations.
“I am particularly interested in the political economy of forced displacement and how global governance must evolve to address the causes and consequences of displacement,” he said.
You can donate to Paul-Antoine’s GoFundMe campaign here: https://www.gofundme.com/NepalSchoolReconstruction