Charlottesville, Va., March 16, 2016 – St. Anne’s-Belfield School eighth grade student Andrew Pollard has received a $600.00 Charlottesville Sister Cities grant to travel to Poggio a Caiano, Italy this coming summer. He will speak to elementary students at a local public school about life in Charlottesville and offer a history lesson on Thomas Jefferson and his close friend and Poggio a Caiano native Philip Mazzei, an Italian physician. Mazzei once oversaw an experimental farm next to Monticello, and was said to have collected information on European politics for Jefferson.

“The initiative will be beneficial to the students in Poggio a Caiano as they will benefit from a visit from children in their sister city and learn about the history of Monticello and Thomas Jefferson,” Pollard wrote in his grant application.

“Similarly, children in Charlottesville will learn more about an interesting piece of our city’s link with our sister city and deepen their understanding of Thomas Jefferson as an ambassador of friendship and goodwill.”

Pollard plans to share these lessons in a presentation in the early summer, helped by his younger brother Henry. Prior to departure he intends to conduct research at the Jefferson Library at Monticello, as well as meet with a member of the Monticello Education Department to review his lesson plan.

Pollard intends to give the same lesson to classmates at St. Anne’s-Belfield School and students at Jackson-Via Elementary School, and all will be invited to begin an ongoing dialog with children from Poggio a Caiano via a blog on shared history.

“I am most excited to meet the children in Poggio a Caiano this summer. We share a unique historical bond that is based on friendship,” says Pollard.

“I hope we become friends and that children from Italy and Charlottesville will also have the opportunity to form virtual friendships that transcend our geographical distance.”

The grant is administered by the Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission (CSCC), an organization dedicated to promoting the understanding and relationships between citizens of the Charlottesville area and Sister Cities Besancon, France; Pleven, Bulgaria; Winneba, Ghana; and Poggio a Caiano, Italy. Grants are awarded based on projects that promote cultural, economic, education, and humanitarian activities.