World Traveler Mike Harrold Shares Tales with Accompsett MS Sixth Graders

Mike Harrold during assembly. thumbnail208707

Mike Harrold’s travels began upon completing sixth grade, when he bicycled with friends from his Islip hometown to Montauk along Sunrise Highway.

He now has visited 90 countries and 49 U.S. states.

And on Monday morning, the photojournalist and world traveler visited sixth graders at Accompsett Middle School and shared a multimedia presentation that showcased his journeys to the faraway lands.

Harrold told students that he frequently visits a country for two to three months at a time —longer than a typical vacation traveler — in order to embed with the locals, gain their acceptance and be invited in their homes, and learn their cultures.

“Today I’m going to open your eyes and show you it’s a big world out there,” Harrold said.

Sponsored by the Accompsett Middle School PTA’s cultural arts committee, Harrold’s visit highlighted famous sites such as the Great Pyramids. He related his Middle East visit to the students’ unit on ancient Egypt by providing the audience with interesting information about mummification.

Harrold also shared his adventures in large cities and small villages of Africa, China and India and reminded the students that many children in these places would only be too happy to be attending school.

Harrold noted, though, that he much prefers visiting small villages.

After the large group presentation, sixth grade social studies classes visited Harrold in a smaller setting throughout the day, where they were allowed to closely examine some of the artifacts from Harrold’s trips, including a homemade scooter made for a child in Thailand.

“It ties directly to what you’re learning in your social studies classes,” assistant principal Theresa Donahue told the students.

Harrold began his presentation by quizzing the students about the languages spoken in different countries, including Brazil, Egypt, Thailand and Japan. He then told students how to say hello in those languages.

Harrold also shared with students that he has yet to visit the coldest continent.

“I’ll go to Antarctica one day,” he said. “But I’m a people person. You can’t talk to penguins.”