Students at Kennedy School raise money for Ethiopian school

On January 3, 2010, in Uncategorized, by The News Staff


 

By Cathleen Twardzik

Students
from the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Somerville want to raise
$5,000 "to build a library at their Ethiopian sister school, the
Gordama School, and to fill it with books. Students have already raised
over $450 that was used to buy new desks and chairs for the Ethiopian
K-8 school, of over 1,800 students," according to the Kennedy School's
website.


Therefore, a fundraiser took place on Dec. 16 to
benefit that project, at the Porter Square Pizzeria Uno. Customers who
presented a donation ticket were eligible to donate as much as 20
percent of the price of their meal to the cause.

Tickets were available at http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/kennedy, and at the school's main office.

Although
the final amount is not yet available, the school raised approximately
$140 at the Pizzeria Uno fundraiser. Additional fundraisers will be in
the works to reach the $5,000 goal. Almost a week after Christmas,
Kristen Fudge, a Resource Room teacher at the Kennedy School, sent an
inquiry via e-mail to inquire about beginning the library project,
using the funds which have been raised.

The Kennedy School "got
involved with the Gordoma School because I have a son, adopted from
Ethiopia. My husband and I traveled there two years ago to bring home
Ashagre, who was two and a half years old at that time. When I got home
and settled back into my life, I wanted to do something to help raise
money to send back to Ethiopia," said Fudge.

Additionally, the
process of the school's initial involvement entailed a visit from Ali
Crandall of an adoption agency called Wide Horizons for Children
(WHFC), who sported traditional Ethiopian dress and spoke to the fifth
through eighth grade classes about Ethiopia, as well as the Gordoma
School.

Crandall "returned to Ethiopia for a humanitarian aid
mission and went to the Gordoma School and spoke to the principal. She
sent us pictures of the school, the students and the principal," as
well as letters from two students, both of whom Crandall interviewed,
according to Fudge.

This year, the fifth-graders at the Kennedy
exchanged pictures and letters with students at the Gordama School, at
which the average class size is 100 students. At that school, desks
must be shared, or students sit on the classroom floor.

In
Ethiopia, "Students have to walk miles to go to school and many of them
can only go in the morning because in the afternoon, they have to go
help with chores if they are boys and fetch water if they are girls.
The students are interested in sports and aspire to be doctors," she
said.

Chores, favorite sports and school subjects served as
Kennedy students' letter topics, as did questions, regarding the
country's weather and holidays.

In mid December, the letters were sent to Ethiopia with a family who was traveling to that country to adopt three siblings.

"The
most rewarding part for me is connecting Somerville and Ethiopia. The
students at the Kennedy will forever know that they have made a
difference in [that] country," she said. Moreover, that class has
"raised money for breast cancer and collected blankets for babies in
Kenya."

"This group of fifth-graders will stay connected to
Gordoma and will continue to help with fundraising," as well as
participate in further correspondence, according to Fudge.

However,
the entire school is welcome to participate. Interestingly, Fudge's
son's preschool has begun to take part. "They sent over a picture of
their class and a letter and are going to be doing a penny drive," said
Fudge.

For more information about the Kennedy School's sister
school activities, contact Principal Anne Foley at
afoley@k12.somerville.ma.us.

 

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