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AWTT Launches the Samantha Smith Challenge


Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) is partnering with the Maine Association Middle Level Education (MAMLE) to create the Samantha Smith Challenge, an education program that  encourages every Maine middle level student to learn by engaging a serious issue and  making a positive contribution to the world today.  
Learn how Maine teachers and students can participate here.

A presentation announcing the Samantha Smith Challenge will be made at the annual MAMLE Conference in Northport, Maine on October 24th. Robert Shetterly, Connie Carter, Samantha Smith’s mother, Jane Smith, representatives from MAMLE and both students and teachers who have used AWTT in the classroom will be onhand and available for interviews. Members of the press are also invited to attend AWTT’s workshop which begins at 11:15 am.

Thirty years ago, an eleven year old girl from Manchester, Maine, was concerned about the possibility of nuclear war. She wrote a letter to Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov asking him, “Please tell me how you are going to help to not have war.” A year later, Samantha Smith was teaching adults and children about making peace. Her progress from concern to courageous engagement was made up of a series of small steps and decisions—the kinds of things all of us can do!

Inspired by Samantha’s “Model of Courageous Citizenship”, AWTT and MAMLE are launching a process for middle school students around the state to turn their concerns about the world into positive action and engaged citizenship. Says AWTT artist and founder, Robert Shetterly, “The purpose of the Samantha Smith Challenge is to build a bridge between the classroom and the world and to show students that citizens of any age can be part of solving the challenges and problems the world presents.”

Through links to educational standards and with the participation of teachers around the state, MAMLE and AWTT will demonstrate that the Samantha Smith Challenge not only helps to create engaged citizens, but also well educated students.

The Samantha Smith Challenge will be launched formally on October 24, 2014 in Northport, Maine at MAMLE’s annual conference.

The first annual Samantha Smith Challenge will culminate in a public event. On June 1, 2015, all participating students and their teachers will be invited to the State House in Augusta to celebrate Samantha Smith Day.  Students and classes who participate in the Challenge will display their projects (science fair style) in the Hall of Flags.  Community partners will be encouraged to attend this celebration showcase as well.  

MAMLE, Maine Association for Middle Level Education, is the professional association of teachers, administrators, and parents who have joined together to support the development of quality programs which serve the needs of young adolescents. MAMLE exists to promote a better understanding of middle grades education in our state. It is a source of ideas, information, and support.

AWTT, Americans Who Tell the Truth, is an art and education non-profit based on Robert Shetterly’s portraits and accompanying narratives that highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness. By combining art and other media, AWTT offers resources to inspire a new generation of engaged Americans who will act for the common good, our communities, and the Earth.

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:

AWTT: Robert Shetterly, [email protected]

AWTT: Connie Carter, [email protected]    

MAMLE: Gert Nesin, [email protected]

MAMLE: Jill Spencer, [email protected]

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