SPRING HILL — Springstead High School International Baccalaureate students Sumaya Alshaar, 16, and Rachael Simone, 17, both juniors, will present a Syrian awareness seminar from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at Springstead Theater.
The event is free, and refreshments will be served.
The students coordinated the program as part of their I.B. Creativity, Activity and Service requirement. And the subject is close to Sumaya's heart.
An American, Sumaya has relatives beyond her immediate family living in civil war-torn Syria. She used to visit, but hasn't been able to go in recent years.
"Almost my whole family is there. I just feel terrible not being able to help them directly," she said. "I was born in America. Both my parents were raised in Syria."
Sumaya and Rachael are good friends.
"I proposed (the seminar) to her, and she said, 'Why not? Let's do it,' " Sumaya said.
There have been bake sales at school to help pay for the cost of the seminar. If the students get any donations above what they need to cover the costs, the money will go to the Syrian Sunrise Foundation to benefit Syrians in need.
"It really is horrible what is going on in Syria right now," Rachael said. "I know it was something special for (Sumaya). I'll be getting CAS hours, and it's for a good cause."
There will be two featured speakers at the event, Dr. Ghiath Mahmaljy and Dr. Imad Jandali.
"They're both from different areas of Syria," Sumaya said.
"It's not about politics. It's not about religion. It's about the families over there that are suffering," Rachael said.
The students said they wanted to help.