Westminster alumna makes a difference
Westminster Christian Academy alumna Holly Sumner is living out the school’s global mission having recently traveled to Nicaragua with a group from the Church of St. Michael and St. George in Clayton, Mo.
Sumner, having discovered her passion for the Spanish language early on at Westminster, challenged herself to study the language intently throughout her time there. Now, at 17, she is completely fluent and is using her excellent command of the language to make a difference and impact lives all over the world. She is an advocate for Compassion International and had the opportunity to visit one of four children she sponsors (one of nine with whom she corresponds) during her visit to Nicaragua.
While there, she also became involved with translation and interpretation work for a documentary called “Hit Man to Hero,” a feature-length film being produced by a group of St. Louisans, also in attendance on the trip. The film tells the account of a Nicaraguan man now devoted to liberating women and child victims of prostitution and sexual slavery. On the trip, Sumner visited the rehabilitation center established by the film’s main character and was at one time asked to translate between a nurse and an ill patient. The footage of the translation was filmed for possible use in a Univisión special about the making of the film later this month.
Now in St. Louis, Sumner continues to assist with the film project in any way she is needed, namely by transcribing the film’s Spanish entries for its eventual translation into English.
Sumner says she was deeply impacted by the level of poverty in Nicaragua, specifically by the hopeless mindsets of so many women at the rehabilitation center.
“They are single moms making hardly any money, unable to provide for their family and feeling that there is no other way than resorting to prostitution,” Sumner said. “Poverty in Nicaragua is so different from what I’ve ever understood in the United States. I have never seen people who are so lost; my heart breaks for them. Through my work on this project, I hope that I am able to help give them a voice.”
Earlier this year, Sumner completed her high school coursework through the University of Missouri and graduated in May. She hopes to complete her education degree and move to Nicaragua to teach English and Spanish literacy to children in grades kindergarten through eight.