Friday, January 13, 2012

Taking pride in new cultures

Looking back on his high school career, Donavon Dicks can cross off dabbling in a foreign language, traveling to China and teaching basic English to children in the Mentougou mountains.

Because of his 2010 international works in China, Donavon will be recognized Jan. 14 at the 2011 Pride Awards, receiving the global youth award.

The purpose of the Pride Awards, is to recognize outstanding accomplishments in the African-American community, said Dee Dixon, publisher and CEO of Pride Magazine.

This year’s Pride Awards theme is Global Fusion: Celebrating International Charlotte, so recipients were placed in the categories of global outreach, global impact and global youth. All proceeds generated from the event will benefit the Charlotte International Cabinet.

In school, Donavon is a member of the Japanese National Honor Society and is treasurer of West Mecklenburg's Japanese club. In the summer of 2010, he began his international travels by competing in the Bardoli Global Scholars program, in which he earned a student spot to travel to China for three weeks.

While overseas, Donavon taught basic English to children living in Mentougou, near Beijing, and also performed manual labor alongside farmers in crop fields.

"It was hard work, but I enjoyed it because it was a good bonding experience," Donavon said.

He said he enjoyed the third week of his trip because he and another student stayed with a host family in Beijing - a grandmother, to be exact.

"She thought it was funny to speak in a Russian accent," Donavon said laughing. "And we taught her grand kids to speak some English."

It is Donavon's hope to continue his global experiences by studying in South Korea this summer. Following high school, he said he plans to attend college and become a foreign service officer, diplomat or international lawyer.

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Photo courtesy of Nepherterra Estrada.