un articulo por Diana Stricker, Branford Eagle
Video: Beatrices Goat author visits school
“Kiss that goat! Kiss that goat!” chanted 500 students at Mary J. Tisko Elementary School in Branford [Connecticut, United States].
Photo by Mary Johnson
click on photo to enlarge
As their shouts reached a crescendo, Principal James O’Connor kissed the goat on his head.
The schoolyard pucker was the students’ reward for surpassing their goal of raising money for Heifer International, a non-profit agency that gives livestock to needy families around the world. For the past few weeks, the children have been reading the book, “Beatrice’s Goat,” and bringing in pockets full of change that added up to about $1,800. The goal was $500.
“We tried to find something to grab the kids’ interest,” O’Connor told the Eagle shortly before putting on some goat-kissing lipstick. “As long as it promotes learning and reading and writing, my dignity isn’t that big.”
Reading specialist Diane Kaczynski, who spearheaded the project, announced the grand total just as the goat arrived. It was her inspiration to have the children read the true-life story, “Beatrice’s Goat,” and collect money to buy a cow or some goats for children in Africa.
Kaczynski said the school initially planned to buy one cow, which costs $500, but will now be able to afford a number of animals. “The whole school will vote and decide what else we want to buy,” she said.
It all began when Kaczynski learned about the book from her daughter, who is a school counselor in West Haven. Since Tisko students are often involved in fundraising projects, Kaczynski thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for students to read the book and raise money to help children like Beatrice.
“They embraced the story,” Kaczynski said. “It really hit home knowing this was a true story. It’s a way for the children to look at life globally.”
Connecticut author Page McBrier spent Wednesday at Tisko, talking with the classes about her experience in Africa and about the writing process. She traveled to Uganda in 1994 to write about Beatrice and how Heifer International changed the young girl’s life. Although it took six years to find a publisher, the children’s book went on to become a New York Times best seller.
The book tells the story of a 9-year-old African girl who couldn’t afford to attend school until her family received a goat from Heifer International. Money earned from selling goat’s milk enabled young Beatrice to buy books and start school. The book ends there, but the success story continued as Beatrice Biira eventually won a scholarship to Connecticut College in New London and graduated in 2008.
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Kaczynski was able to bring McBrier to Tisko by applying for a grant from the Branford Education Foundation, which awarded $1,000 to cover the costs. “It’s been a town-wide effort,” the reading specialist said. “The outpouring of support has been wonderful.”
Counting the massive number of coins was a labor of love. Kaczynski said she was overwhelmed when they realized how much money had been contributed. “The parents and children have really embraced this fund-raising project,” she said. “The awareness has heightened.”
McBrier, who has written more than 40 children’s books, talked with Tisko students in large sessions and individually in their classrooms. She thanked them for their donations. “You are doing something that’s going to bring help to people all over the world,” she said.
McBrier described how she traveled to a number of small villages in Africa, where families had received goats from Heifer International. . ... continuación.
Este artículo ha sido publicado on line el
April 10, 2012.
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