When the Lowell Milken Center opened its doors downtown more than six years ago, the ultimate goal was to have an international impact.
The projects the center has worked on during that time celebrate unsung heroes from every part of the world and staff have collaborated with students in many other countries via the internet and video chat.
So it's not surprising that this week, the Lowell Milken Center Europe becomes a reality.
"Establishing a center in Europe has always been a dream for us," Program Director Megan Felt said. "We happen to know so many great teachers on that side of the Atlantic that it was a natural progression."
One of those teachers and a 2013 Lowell Milken Center Fellow, Marzanna Pogorzelska, will serve as the center's coordinator.
"Marzanna Pogorzelska is an accomplished educator who understands and embodies the mission of the Lowell Milken Center," Executive Director Norm Conard said. "We have every confidence that she will do great work. It has always been Lowell Milken's vision to present unsung heroes and project-based learning around the world."
Like its Fort Scott counterpart, the Lowell Milken Center Europe will have a physical location in Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Poland, but will collaborate with schools across Europe in developing unique projects about unsung heroes. Pogorzelska will present to educators across the continent about the Lowell Milken Center, project-based learning, and unsung heroes.
Pogorzelska teaches in her hometown of Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Poland. She earned a master's degree and Ph.D. in pedagogical sciences from Opole University in Poland. Her work in Holocaust education, social justice and tolerance has been the hallmark of her career.
Like the Lowell Milken Center, Pogorzelska incorporates project-based learning into her classroom. The projects her students develop promote understanding and acceptance of all people.
Now in its sixth year, the Lowell Milken Center discovers, develops and communicates the stories of unsung heroes who have made a profound and positive difference on the course of history. Through student-driven project-based learning, people throughout America and the world learn that each of us has the responsibility and the power to take actions that "repair the world" by improving the lives of others.
These projects take the form of performances, documentaries, websites and exhibits, and other creative ideas. The center provides support ranging from project development to project critiques, primary research, and interview assistance to K-12 teachers and students.
The center has reached more than 5,300 students and more than 625,000 schools in all 50 states, with involvement growing worldwide.