From me to you

TPS third-graders see how their ‘Coins for Change’ project helped their South African counterpart

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  • Showing photos of the South African students who are the beneficiaries of the Tuxedo Park School third-grade "Coins for Change" project with Tuxedo Park resident Sue Heywood are, in the front row and from the left: Jacob Berry, Isabella Croce, Maliah Utley, Aryana Ramos-Vazquez and Courtney Swingle. Middle row: McConn Honor, left, Serdar Kaltalioglu, Samantha Emr, Raquel Zona, Jace Howhannesian, Cassandra Beckmann and Piper Jenkins. Back row: Sean Coen, left, Jordan Kotch, Matthew Harper, Matthew Biamonte, Megan Donaghy, Eva Galbraith, Justin Romeo, Nicholas Hansen and Paris Liston.

  • Happiness is can be seen in the faces of these South African second- and third-graders now that they have new books to read, courtesy of the efforts of the third-grade class at Tuxedo Park School.

— It’s always good to see the outcome of one’s efforts.

Third- graders at Tuxedo Park School were able to see the positive results of their “Coins for Change” project this past week, when Tuxedo Park resident Sue Heywood stopped by with photos of second- and third-grade students at a rural school in Mablomong, South Africa, happily showing the new books they now have.

The Tuxedo Park School class raised $1,600 this past February for those books after Heywood told them about her travels to that nation through the Carryou Ministry. The students were learning about South Africa during one of their culture study lessons before winter break.

Reading lists as well
Heywood, a British native who is now a U.S. citizen, has been visiting South Africa since 2001 and has seen how children live without food, medicine, clothing, proper shelter or even the ability to go to school. Her efforts have allowed many Tuxedo residents and students to have a positive influence on these children.

In addition to sending the money, the third-graders sent book recommendations as well.

During Heywood’s visit to the school, students were also given a book of the letters that their South African counterparts had written.

“I think what struck them most was the fact that the South African children’s letters stated simply that they lived in ‘O. R. Tambo Squatter Camp,’” Heywood wrote in a note to The Photo News. “For the South African children, this was just a fact and they didn’t complain. However, the reality of that camp is that the ‘homes’ are corrugated iron shacks that the family has built themselves, with a mud floor, cracks in the walls and roofs, no heat or power and no running water.”

Common interests worlds apart

But the letters also showed the common interests students worldwide have, no matter what their socioeconomic status may be.

“Yet their letters also said things like’ I chose this book because I like jokes and adventures as well,” wrote Heywood. “(They wrote) ‘This book made me laugh and even made me forget about netball (basketball) practice and I got punished. I had to do 50 laps.’ The Tuxedo Park School children somehow related to this. They also were delighted that each letter was addressed to one of them and often the things they liked to do were exactly the same.”

Colleen Schilly, the school’s third-grade head teacher and its primary school division coordinator, had said she felt the project helped her students with “their own self-awareness and awareness of others.”

- Nancy Kriz

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