NEW CLASSROOMS, ADMIN BUILDING OPEN
FOR BUSINESS AT KENYAN SCHOOL
Whenthe Preschool and Kindergarten pupils at Kishermoruak Primary School in Kenyareturned last week after their August recess and a one-week nationwideteachers’ strike, big changes awaited them and their teachers. Instead of the corrugated tin “shack”they departed in late July, --- a hot and dusty hovel with a dirt floor andhole where a window should be--- the kiddies gathered in two bright, newclassrooms, the latest project of the on-going support K-School has beenreceiving from the Ridgewood Rotary Club.
Theclassrooms were formally dedicated in mid-July when Jerry Kallman and his wife,Lorraine, made their annual visit to the Maasai school. The new building is thelatest facility provided by the local service club and joins an AdministrativeBlock and eight additional classrooms (one for each grade) previously providedfor the 300-student primary school.
“Althoughthe school year officially begins in January in Kenya, we wanted to get intothe new surroundings as soon as possible,“ Kallman explained. “Ever since Lorraine first saw theconditions of the Preschool building, she had been lobbying strenuously to ‘dosomething about it’”.
Lorrainecommented that while there are only a total of 42 tots in the Preschool andKindergarten classes currently, the Head Teacher assured that “if we build it,they will come”, noting that the deplorable condition of the early classroomdiscouraged parents from enrolling their youngsters in the early childhoodclasses. “We have ordered 100little chairs and ten low tables anticipating that Head Teacher John knows whatthe community wants and parents and toddlers will show up en masse comeJanuary,” she noted.
A brass plaquelisting all 62 donors to the building project as well as two additional plaques(one for each classroom) were unveiled during the brief dedicationprogram. The Preschool Classroomwas memorialized for the late Susan Dodds, wife of Ridgewood Rotarians BobDodds, husband, and son, David Dodds. The Kindergarten facility was named for the local chairman of theKishermoruak Primary School Committee.
The dedicationof the new building was accompanied by a community celebration, with pupilsperforming songs and traditional dances while school officials, tribalchieftains and parents participated. Revered tribal elders blessed the facility and moments after Kallmansnipped the ceremonial ribbon, the children and their teachers streamed intothe bright, fresh rooms.
Earlierin the visit a less-auspicious dedication took place, when the AdministrativeBlock, completed late last year was dedicated and, at the request of the SchoolCommittee, named in honor of Lorraine Kallman. A brass plaque was affixed to the cornerstone.
TheLibrary, one of the four rooms in the building, was named in honor of Lynn VanAdder, Treasurer of the Ridgewood Rotary Club. The Faculty Room, Head and Assistant Head Teacher’s Officeswere also dedicated in recognition of principal donors to the project.
Introducedin the fall of 2008, the Kenya School Project began its association with theschool by providing hot, nutritious lunches each school day for the 300students, a program which is on-going. In addition to the classroom and building program, the Rotary Club hasprovided a deep-water well which serves the school and the surroundingcommunity, a vegetable garden now supplementing the school lunches, a “washingstation” where children can wash their hands before lunch; and a variety oflearning materials including a multi-band radio and high qualitymicroscope. In addition, sevengraduates are now enrolled in high school, supported by the Rotary Club or individualsponsors attracted by the project.
Thisspring a ‘Visit A School” program was unveiled, encouraging tourists to theneighboring Maasai Mara Game Park to drop into the school as a cultural adjunctto their safari experience. Manyvisitors from Europe and Asia, as well as the United States have responded tothe K-School flyer
andvisited the school.
Moreinformation on the Kenya School Project can be obtained by contacting JerryKallman at (email) firstname.lastname@example.org.