First-grade students at the St. Johnsbury School are making friends around the world and learning citizenship through technology in teacher Brianna Laue's classroom. During the school year, students have been participating in CHAT to the Future, an organization that promotes the communication of children in different locations using video technology.
Laue's students have been visiting children in other classrooms around the world and have been communicating regularly with students in an orphanage in Uganda, Africa. When St. Johnsbury students learned about the difficult conditions at the orphanage, they brainstormed as a class on ways that they could help their new friends and decided to have a bake sale on May 9. Their goal was to raise $300, which would pay the tuition of one orphan at the school for an entire year, and could also contribute to food, medicine and rent.
Students baked at home and brought in goodies. They used the kitchen classroom in the school to bake and frost cupcakes together. They created posters and a video to advertise the bake sale and explain why this cause was important to them. One student in another classroom overheard some of her classmates saying they did not have any money to bring in for the bake sale. She went home and individually put 50 cents into baggies and gave one baggie to each of her fellow classmates.
Laue said, "The day of the bake sale I was blown away by the support my students were receiving, not only from staff but the students as well. Students all over the school were putting the 'cause over the cookie' and donating their extra change to our new friends. My students would jump up and down and chant 'donation! donation!' to celebrate the generosity of the staff and students. It was truly inspirational to see students, staff and parents come together to support each other and the cause!"
The class goal was to raise $300 at the bake sale to fund one student's education, rent, medicine and food at the orphanage. Through the hard work of the students, and generosity of the staff and students, $621.17 was raised and funds are still coming in. As community members hear of this cause they are sending donations in with students and teachers.