As you are winding down the school year…here is a great idea that students from Perth Amboy have launched, a campaign to name the Statue of Liberty a world wonder! Have Lady Liberty be your afterschool’s American Idol! Have your afterschool youth join the campaign-voting is done over the internet and the last day to vote is July 6th!
The Statue of Liberty is losing, but some Perth Amboy middle school students have not given up hope for a late rally.
They’re trying to get Lady Liberty selected as one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World,” but right now, she ranks in the bottom 10 in votes among 21 international sites vying to be selected when winners are announced in July.
“I’m going to be upset if the Statue of Liberty isn’t chosen,” said 14-year-old Luis Sanchez. “We’ve put a lot of work into this.”
In their quest to boost the campaign of America’s only entry in the international competition of 21 sites, the students at McGinnis School have launched an Internet campaign, including a promotional video posted on the popular multimedia Web site YouTube.com
They’ve also been e-mailing schools on the East Coast and encouraging friends at other schools to visit www.new7wonders.com to vote for the Statue of Liberty before the contest ends July 6, said Michael Heidelberg, a language arts teacher at McGinnis.
“They’re driving this project,” Heidelberg said. “I’ve encouraged them to go outside the school walls and really push for it.”
The school got involved with the New 7 Wonders Foundation in January when Heidelberg had his students write essays, which he sent to the contest organizers. The students were selected as the official North American ambassadors for the Statue of Liberty.
“We were impressed and were looking to integrate some kids in the campaign,” said Tia B. Viering, spokeswoman for the New 7 Wonders Foundation. “Anybody who will bring the world together will be the kids. We’re leaving the world in their hands.”
The students met with contest officials and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the Statue of Liberty in March as part of a world tour of the 21 sites designed to generate interest in the New 7 Wonders campaign.
“It was cold, but it was exciting,” said 14-year-old student Jonathan Fernandez. If enough people vote using the school’s code “S777646,” a representative from McGinnis School would get to attend the announcement of the seven winners on July 7 (7/7/07) in Lisbon, Portugal.
More than 45 million people have cast votes, though Viering was tight-lipped on the early returns. She did acknowledge the Statue of Liberty ranks in the bottom 10 so far.
“Americans have not yet caught on,” Viering said.
The idea of selecting new wonders of the world came from Swiss film producer, author and aviator Bernard Weber, who has been campaigning internationally since 2000 for the new 7 Wonders of the World.
The original seven wonders — the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Temple of Artemis, Statue of Zeus, Colossus of Rhodes, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Pyramids of Egypt — were selected by Philon of Byzantium in 200 B.C. Of those, only the Pyramids remain standing.
Weber thought it was time for the world to have seven new wonders and for society, not just one man, to chose them.
The Statue of Liberty faces competition from other well-known sites including the Great Wall of China, the Colosseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in France and Stonehenge in England.
Darren Boch, spokesman for the Statue of Liberty, said he hoped the monument’s status as a national symbol would help win more support in the contest.
“It’s an icon in liberty and freedom,” Boch said. “It’s particularly special to the citizens of the United States. We take special pride in it. But you can flash that icon across the globe and people will know what it is.”
Heidelberg said his students have already benefited from the experience even if the Statue of Liberty isn’t selected.
The students, most of whom are first-generation Americans, have a connection to the Statue of Liberty, which symbolizes hope, promise and a dream of a better life for immigrants who make the United States their new home, he said.
The project “has them excited to talk about their own personal history. It’s a conversation between a kid and a grandparent, and that’s the most lasting benefit,” Heidelberg said.
“My parents came from the Dominican Republic,” said Jessica Espinal, a first-generation American and eighth-grader at McGinnis School. “Since they’re immigrants, it represents us.”