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From Chassell to Togo

April 24, 2012
By STACEY KUKKONEN - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

CHASSELL - Through their service learning class, students at Chassell Township Schools are learning about life in a different country entirely.

"They've been an awesome class to work with," teacher Tricia Tervo said of the students who are eager to come together and do work in the class.

The students are focusing on Togo, Africa, where they have connected with a class of students through correspondence. First, the Chassell students learned about Africa and schools in the Togo area. In the end, the objective for the Chassell students is to change the future of the Kpalime, Togo, students by helping them get a better education, be that by sending school supplies or teaching them about the United States.

Article Photos

Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
A poster showing information about Togo, Africa, is shown at the Chassell school. A?class in Chassell Township Schools has been working with a class of students in Togo in an attempt to help change the future of the students of a Kpalime, Togo, school.

"Togo is a small country in Africa bordered by Ghana," Tervo said.

During a presentation to the Chassell Township Schools Board of Education this month, a group of students held a presentation complete with photos of the school and the students learning.

The Chassell class began by collecting supplies for basic needs at the school. Many students at the school don't even have shoes to wear and in some of the pictures, a handful of students can be seen without shoes.

"It's been interesting for our class to see what their rooms are like, how basic it is and the rough wood desk they share," Tervo said. "They don't have much in the way of footwear."

To be able to purchase supplies for the school, the Chassell students have conducted research, designed projects with skills used in computer class and have hosts several fundraisers, including a donut sale, bake sale and dinner hosted at Tervo's church where $900 was raised.

"They have been doing (a) fundraiser for some of the more expensive stuff and to cover shipping costs," she said. "The seventh and the eighth grades have each done a bake sale and raised about $100 between the two of them and the seventh grade is at the end of a Krispy Kreme donut sale."

Tervo wasn't sure how much she would raise at the dinner, but moved forward with the help of her sister and a friend from Togo.

"We decorated in an African theme and wore African clothing," she said. "We have about 35 generous people there and made $900 after expenses toward this project."

The students have also designed collection boxes and participated in a radio advertisement in order to get the word out about the work they have been doing and the money they needed to raise.

"These guys designed the bulletin board in the hallway," Tervo said. "That was all them."

To get the first package to the students, the class packed a suitcase and shipped it to Arizona where a friend of Tervo was leaving for a mission trip to Ghana and was able to take the suitcase to Togo. In the future, however, the students may have to ship packages which can be difficult to get through customs.

No matter what the students do next with the project, Tervo said the Chassell students responded positively to the project and even received a letter of thanks from the class in Kpalime, Togo.



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