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IDEAS Academy Students Present Projects at Exhibitions of Learning
Sam Priem and Autumn Willard presented their projects titled, “How Will I be Treated Today?” at IDEAS Academy Exhibitions of Learning at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center on January 10. In place of  formal written finals, IDEAS Academy students present their semester long project twice a year in a public venue.

Over the course of a semester students are led through a five phase process by their IDEAS Block teacher, which includes writing papers with an annotated bibliography, creating something of value, presenting their learning to the public, and reflecting on the entire process.
Sam and Autumn both chose to research women’s rights in specific places Africa and Asia.

In describing her short story about Egyptian women, Autumn said “The tone of my writing is matter of fact and almost eerie.” Her story is based on actual events that happened in Egypt and is written in the voice of an Egyptian girl. She speaks of her horrific experience while walking in the streets of an Egyptian city without a veil over her face. The ramifications of that choice were deadly for one of her friends.

Sam also chose creative writing as her art form, but instead of short stories, decided on poetry slam because “women’s rights is something that needs to be expressed with an art form that is loud and gets to the point so people really listen”. She focused her research on China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia to answer the driving question “How do women’s rights vary within Asia?” One of the challenges Sam faced was how much women’s rights vary across Asia and even across a single county such as China.

Sam’s poetry focuses on how women are treated in her three countries of choice. She hopes “her poetry allows the audience to step into these women’s shoes and really understand how they feel.” In addition to exploring what is happening to women in these countries Sam also explored how Americas can help. This information was provided to the audience in in bookmarks with a list of websites to find out more about women’s rights and how to donate to valid support organizations.

Saudi Arabia by Sam Priem
Don't go anywhere without male permission
Don't drive
Don't talk to a male that isn't your relative
And absolutely
Never ever
Leave a building without your veil
These are the rules
Imposed upon us
Rules even the princesses
Would not dare brake
Without fear of death
My mother was sold to my father
At a young age
As his temporary bride
He never found anyone else
So now here I am
A product of corruption
A product of a world with so much wrong
We need a big difference
And we need it now

China by Sam Priem
I am a woman
And I have my rights
But not here
Here I am an object
Used for my body
I've lost count
Of how many 'husbands' I've had
I've lived a million lives
But I can not die
Can not even try
I am needed to recreate
I've given up
Any hopes of having a 'real family'
There are no real families here
Women are bought and sold
Beaten and tortured
Raped and forced into abortion
Death is the escape
I wish to be a number
Added to the statistics
Of hundreds of women
Committing suicide everyday
My father sold me
When I was five
To his close friend
He was my first
I was never the same since
My mother and three sisters
Were the same
Father was ashamed
He never had a son
I was never named
My suitors call me Ingres
For lover
Now I am in the clouds
Looking over the children of my land
Watching my life
From beginning to end
Again and again
Always the same
It's time to change

IDEAS Academy is a charter high school in the Sheboygan Area School District.
Sheboygan Area School District Press Release
January 14, 2013