World Cup Community Building Project
Grant Recipient: Susan Heeter, Dover High School
World Languages teacher, Susan Heeter, submitted an enthusiastic $750 SEED grant request. She used the 2018 FIFA World Cup as her platform to educate students about world cultures. The four-week program also brought a sense of spirit and school unity to the high school. “While this event may not be of grave importance to most Americans,” Heeter said, “to the rest of the world, the World Cup is a very big deal.”
Heeter involved community guest speakers such as Scott Farmer, president of the Dover Soccer Association, and Scott Chrysafidis, new head coach of the Finlandia University men’s soccer team in Hancock, Michigan. They spoke about the global significance of soccer and shared incredible stories of internationalism, World Cup players, and soccer lore.
At the start of the campaign, each student received an official World Cup player sticker. Backpacks, notebooks and cell phones were covered in these stickers as students excitedly talked about the games, players and countries. A poster was hung with the names of the players and designated the official Dover High School FIFA Section. There you could find wins/losses, player stats, and country information.
There were opportunities throughout the month to win prizes. For example, each day, during the morning announcements, three random world cup players were announced. Students who had those stickers won a prize. There were about ten winners each day. Kids were thrilled when "their" player's name was called - it was important to pay attention to pronunciation and decipher their player’s name. Prizes, which ranged from soccer balls, to World Cup Cheez-Its Boxes, to replicas of players, were claimed at the Dover High World Cup Headquarters.
The event, open to all students, faculty and staff, proved to be a fun and exciting learning experience.
Approximately 3.2 billion people watched the final match of the World Cup, and by harnessing the world-wide interest in the occasion, Heeter connected 1,400 Dover High School students and staff members to the larger global community without using a textbook or traditional educational materials.
DHS principal Peter Driscoll recounted “this program built a lot of interest in different countries and cultures and was a welcome community building occasion at the end of the school year.”