The two months leading up to the end of the 2008-2009 school year have been very busy and exciting. Sarin had a successful tourist season leading a lot of tours, but as the tourist season wound down he was even busier supervising the projects at the Spitler School.
In our last newsletter we told you of the completion of the new 6th grade classroom named for our donor, Karsten Schroeder, who generously donated funds for the construction. We were very excited and grateful when one of our travel friends stepped forward to purchase the 20 new desks that we needed for the new classroom.
As soon as the construction was completed on the 6th grade classroom our construction crew turned their attention to the kindergarten building which was in need of reconstruction. This required removing most of the building down to the foundation and rebuilding it with heavier steel framework, brick and mortar walls, a tile floor, and metal roof. The kindergarten room is the largest classroom housing the most students, and it is used for larger community meetings. While it was our most expensive building project we believe that it will be the last major construction project that will be needed for the foreseeable future.
Pam and I are pleased to name this building for my mother, Rae Spitler, and my sister, Kay Spitler. Both Mom and Kay have been wonderful supporters of the school from the beginning of the project. Both have been teachers, and Kay has taught kindergarten and first grade classes during most of her 38-year teaching career. We could think of no better way to honor them both than by dedicating this new building in their names.
We would like to send out a “thank you” to some new friends from Singapore who visited the school in July bringing several boxes of school supplies and other treats for the children. Thiagarajan and Shantini also took the time to send us a comprehensive report about their visit to the school and their observations. Here is a short quote from their report that we were so pleased to read.
“The children were delightful and were very disciplined. We handed out sweets to them and none of them rushed forward and all were beautifully behaved. They were little angels. Teachers were well dressed and groomed. We had the chance to speak to them and they seemed dedicated and sincere in carrying out their duties.”
On July 30 the 2008-2009 school year came to a successful close with a ceremony honoring our top three students from each of the highest grades. Following a tradition that we established last year we awarded a brand new bicycle to the top student in each of grades three, four and five.
Sarin arranged a very nice awards ceremony, inviting the students’ parents and the local village officials. The ceremony ended with a meal for the teachers and honored guests and a small party for the students. All three of the young ladies receiving bicycles had at least one parent who attended. The parents were honored for supporting their daughters’ achievements, along with each of their three teachers.
We wish to welcome the Hess family as new friends of the Spitler School. After visiting the school earlier this year they offered to get involved and decided to sponsor the incoming 6th grade class, which will be our first graduating class in July 2010. This allowed us to do something special for this class along with all of our teachers.
On August 1 Sarin arranged for a large bus to pick up our teachers and our new 6th grade students and take them for a field trip to Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. Pam and I have visited the lake twice on our trips to Cambodia, and it is a very interesting place where hundreds of families live in floating homes. Although it is not far from Siem Reap none of our students have had the opportunity to visit. It was a great day for the teachers and the children. The cost for creating this opportunity for the children was $210 which included hiring the bus, hiring the boat at the lake, and providing a meal to the group.
We continue to look for inexpensive but meaningful ways that we can enhance the quality life for our students and teachers as well as providing a basic education. Enjoy a few photos of this special day.
For the next six weeks our teachers will take a break, our students will take their summer holiday, and hopefully Sarin will have some time to relax and enjoy some time with his family and especially his new little daughter. In mid-September we will launch our fifth year of the Spitler School, and we are looking forward to a great year as we complete our goal of having a full primary school with grades kindergarten through 6th grade.
On behalf of all the children of Spitler School, Pam and I send our heartfelt thanks to many friends, some of whom we have never met personally, who have stepped in to help us grow this project and to keep it healthy and viable. We would like to send a special “thank you” to the following people who have made contributions to the Spitler School Foundation since our last newsletter in May.
The Hess Family
Rick, Carol Ann, Becca and Anna
(sponsoring 6th grade)
Pam D. (desks for 6th grade)
Peter & Sally Preston (bicycle)
Bob & Betty Shellenbarger
Mike & Sharon Daggett
Paul & Barbara Barnes
Jim & Mary Wiggens
On a final note, the Spitler School Foundation ended its fiscal year on June 30. We have filed our yearly 990EZ form with the IRS, and a copy is available to any of our donors upon request.
Daniel & Pam Spitler, Directors
Spitler School Foundation
P.O. Box 730
Peoria, AZ 85380
“Resource Providers for Cambodian School Children”
IRS EIN # 20-8085411