Good neighbors: the MB/Hope Exchange

“I want to thank everyone who makes this program happen. It’s a huge amount of work and coordination, but I can assure you that you’re changing the life of at least one student. You did with me.” – Emilia Pena-Disla, Hope High ’02, Moses Brown Middle/Upper School Spanish teacher

Emilia-and-her-sister400For many years, neighboring schools Moses Brown and Hope High School have convened an exchange program: students from one school spend a day with peer hosts at the other, and return the favor on another day. Students have the chance to connect and gain an understanding of both differences and commonalities between students and schools. In March, 32 MB students took part, including 11 seniors and 12 juniors.

Emilia Pena-Disla, a Moses Brown upper and middle school Spanish teacher, has a unique perspective on the Hope Exchange. “I took part in the Hope Exchange in 2002, as a senior at Hope High School,” Emilia says. “This year my sister Lessett, a sophomore at Hope, was able to participate. She really enjoyed her day here at MB. She was so excited when she got home. She spent the entire afternoon telling our mom how different MB is from Hope, comparing the academics, social life and teacher-student relationships of both institutions.”

“Seeing her experience what I did 12 years ago, I felt like I was reliving the experience all over again,” Emilia continues. “In 2002, the year I did the Hope Exchange, Hope was ranked the worst school in the Providence district. Visiting Moses Brown gave me hope that my own outcome – professionally and personally – didn’t have to be linked to Hope High School’s reputation at the time. I worked hard to finish my senior year and made it my goal to pursue a different path than most of my class.”

2014's Hope Exchange participants.

2014’s Hope Exchange participants.

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