Heritage High delegation travels to Africa

Posted 12/9/09

For three years, Heritage High School students have traveled to Kabala, Sierra Leone, in West Africa with money and resources to help the people who …

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Heritage High delegation travels to Africa

Posted

For three years, Heritage High School students have traveled to Kabala, Sierra Leone, in West Africa with money and resources to help the people who live in the war-torn country.

Students have raised almost $60,000 with the majority of the funds going toward the construction of a sister school in the community.

In November, Heritage Principal Ken Moritz and staff members Shelly Harwell and Tony Winger traveled to Africa for the official grand opening of the Heritage High School of Kabala.

Just outside of Kabala, stands a freshly painted new school, with new desks, and almost 200 eager students.

And in the spring there will be a new water well for the school and surrounding community; all due largely to the efforts and generosity of the Heritage community.

Guided by Les Law of “Operation Classroom,” Heritage representatives journeyed to Kabala, where they met the new principal, Daisy Digby Sankoh, the teachers and 183 students of the brand new secondary school.

Operation Classroom is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving schools and health care facilities in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The trip, the fourth that has involved Heritage representatives, was “both celebratory and sobering,” they said.

They witnessed the hope provided by the opening of a new school, as well as the reality of extreme poverty.

Most people struggle each day just to have food to eat and water to drink.

It is this stark reality for the people of Kabala that moved six Heritage High School Community Relations Committee students to act.

On April 27, Heritage High School students and staff embarked on a week-long, school-wide fund raiser known as MAD (Make a Difference) Week. MAD Week 2007 and MAD Week 2008 were huge successes, raising a combined total of more than $41,000 to assist victims in refugee camps, support a health clinic, and to construct the sister school.

Last year Heritage students raised money to provide furniture for the school and a water well for the community.

Over the last three years, Heritage students have traveled to Sierra Leone to help clear the land, build and paint the school, and meet the people of the community.

The overall goal is to strengthen their long-term international connection, which is why the representatives presented the school with their own lap top and a year’s subscription to cellular service to facilitate Internet connection.

Though direct electricity is not yet available at the school and Internet connectivity is in its infancy, direct communication is expected to increase dramatically in the next few months and years.

“One specific goal is to provide a much more direct link through Internet connection so that the number of students who can communicate directly can be increased from the six who have traveled, to the over 1600 students currently enrolled here in Littleton and the 156 enrolled in Kabala,” representatives said in a press release.

“That, we believe will continue to greatly benefit Heritage students in both communities.”

This technology has already allowed the two communities 6,000 miles apart to communicate directly through blogging. Students at Heritage High School in Littleton have posted entries, answered blog questions and responded to the entries posted by the travelers as well as the students in Sierra Leone.

“The relationship enriches students in both continents and allows Littleton students to live out Heritage’s mission to develop leaders who are globally aware and engaged in overcoming the challenges of the 21st century,” representatives said.

Heritage is excited to continue to help sustain its sister school by providing financial aid and supplies, as well as teacher training and support. On Dec. 4, students hosted the Hullabaloo talent show, to raise money for Heritage of Kabala.

MAD Week 2010 will focus on the Dalit Freedom Network.

It is an organization whose official mission is to “empower the Dalits in their quest for social freedom and human dignity.”

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