February 1, 2019

Since early January, students from Thrival Academy: Indy — a one-year study abroad high school program — have been living and studying in Thailand.

For three months, they will be spending time with host families, learning about agriculture — from organic to traditional farming — and gaining a better understanding of themselves.

To keep their families, friends and supporters informed about their time in Southeast Asia, Thrival Academy: Indy’s Founding School Leader India K. Hui and her students provide updates through a weekly newsletter.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights from Week 4:

Learning to Grow and Growing to Learn

By India K. Hui

Two things happened on Friday (January 25), that pretty much summarizes how well our Agriculture and Farming unit went:

  • I stepped into a classroom to say I was holding my breakfast, a pack of grapes and strawberry yogurt, when Sterling says to me, “Are those grapes ORGANIC?”
  • Later, Stanisha sees a jar of Nutella on top of my refrigerator and says, “You need to throw this away! They use PALM OIL in this stuff, which means they have to cut down trees and destroy forests just to make Plus, it has triglycerides in it, which gives you high cholesterol.”

While a small part of me felt exposed, I am so proud to hear that the students truly internalized the content they learned and experiences they had over the last three weeks. This is what experiential learning is all about!

I am a very proud principal.

Jerrell’s Eye-Opening Experience

By Jerrell A. Lewis

My time at my homestay really taught me a lot about myself. I feel as though I have grown as a person and realized the real me as a man. I might not have the mentality of a grown man yet, but I know I’m almost there.

I have realized it’s not about the money or the shine; it’s about the people around you and the things that make you happy in life. People always look at the materialistic things in life and not the things that actually matter.

My homestay has taught me to stay down until you come up and not let the challenges in life bring you down. Use them to learn from your mistakes and gain more knowledge.

Also, put yourself around a small group of people you know who have your back in the long run and don’t let (things) get in your way.

Whatever you want to do with your life do it, because at the end of the day you only have yourself. Love more, live more!

Conventional vs. Organic Farming Debate

By Kayla Saunders

First, I want to make sure everyone understands the difference between conventional farming and organic farming.

Conventional farming is the process of using chemicals while farming to help the rate of the produce grow faster. Organic farming is the process of farming foods with no chemicals or pesticides.

Da’Nyia, Sterling and I were proposing the resolution: Conventional farming helps with the expansion of the global population. We debated against Jose, Evelyn and Tyrone.

Evelyn opened with the argument that organic farming is “healthier” for the global population. Sterling proposed that conventional farming is better to feed the global population because organic and conventional farming produce the exact same product, but organic farming takes longer.

Da’Nyia and Tyrone were the second speakers for their respective groups. They presented additional information for both sides.

I was last to speak, and I had to come up with a rebuttal and summarize all of the facts given during the debate. My best rebuttal was arguing that organic farming is indirectly killing children. I said this because of the amount of time it takes to actually grow organic food is much longer, so kids around the world are starving while they wait for the production of organic fruits and vegetables.


By Aerianna McDade

During a recent craft program, there were four different workshops: sewing, embroidery, clay painting and woodwork. I did three of the activities.

First, I made a bag. I chose my (main) fabric, which was blue, and selected a black-and-white striped fabric for the pocket. I chose light brown straps to go with the bag because it had a modern look to it.

They showed me how to use the sewing machine. I practiced with a smaller piece of fabric first, and I was perfectly good at it. Then they showed me how to put the thread into the machine, and I DID THAT! I was really good at it.

The clay sculptures were some ugly looking mythical creatures. The glaze wasn’t like the glaze we use in ceramics class in America, so it was so weird to me. It was really cool seeing them take the sculptures out of the kiln.

But when the professor took the sculptures out, they caught fire, and we had to throw shredded material onto the flames to put it out.

With all these tiny workshops, it really taught us how to be more creative and a little bit independent because they guided us but didn’t do the work for us.