Students at Kodiak Middle School have been fundraising for another middle school in Mali, West Africa. The students raised $1,000 – the amount needed to provide electricity at the school in Mali. Students in both countries made an attempt to communicate using Skype early Friday morning. KMXT’s Marina Cummiskey was there and filed this report.
It’s 7:30 a.m. on Friday and Kodiak Middle School students are in a classroom trying to Skype with their peers a world away. In Mali, students are crowded in a cyber café at 3:30 p.m., hoping to do the same. There were many struggles to connect, but finally a connection was made.
Still, it wasn’t all that great. You couldn’t hear the students in Mali speaking, and most of the time they looked like colorful blobs rather than people. But even if the students couldn’t communicate very well, that wasn’t important. The real connection came before the Skype attempt, when students in Kodiak raised money with the hopes that the students in Mali could get a better education with electricity.
Heather Preece hosted a man from Mali, Mahim Toure, this fall, who started the connection between the schools. Preece is in contact with the Dielibougou school in Mali, and shared how grateful the students and teachers there were to receive the money – especially the school’s director, Mariam Diop.
“They were just saying that they were overjoyed. The director of the school actually called me at my home one day after they got the money transfer and I had to hold the phone away from my ear because she was so excited and laughing and almost crying she was so happy, saying how important it was that they got electricity in their school and be able to do so much more for the students to learn," she said. "So you guys have done a really good thing. A thousand dollars might not go very far in our community, but it’s like a million dollars to them.”
The people in Mali aren’t the only ones that are excited about the new electricity. Kodiak Middle School students and teachers that helped raise the money were glad they had the opportunity to help a less fortunate school halfway around the world.
“For only $650, $750 they could actually have electricity. For us, that’s a couple of dances, a few candygrams, those types of things. And we were able to get the process of fundraising going and get the money," said Kodiak Middle School Principal Ron Bryant. “I think it’s important for our Kodiak students to get to experience the world outside of Kodiak Island. And to be able to speak to middle school kids on the other side of the world is quite the accomplishment and I’m glad we got that opportunity.”
Reporting for KMXT, I’m Marina Cummiskey.
*Marina Cummiskey is a student intern for KMXT. Heather Preece, mentioned in the above story, is her mom.