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School House Report – November 2007

Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.
— W. B. Yeats

 

I am, as a rule, not very gregarious; however, I am married to Pam, who is perfectly comfortable approaching just about anyone and striking up a conversation. A year and a half ago Pam and I were sitting in the lobby of our hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam. There was another couple nearby who looked like they might be Americans, so Pam struck up a conversation. This is how we met Peter and Sally Preston from Virginia.

 

After going our separate ways we have exchanged an email or two with Peter and Sally, and we put them on our mailing list for our Cambodia School newsletters. Earlier this year Peter sent me an email suggesting that I check the website of an organization that works to clear land mines all over the world. They are also involved in working on clean water projects in Cambodia. I followed Peter’s suggestion and contacted Alison Mead, who heads up the organization called Land Mines Blow. We exchanged a couple of emails and then she passed along contact information to Deanna Shimko, who happened to be in Cambodia at the time. Deanna works for a charitable arm of the Wisconsin Conference of United Methodist and she was in Cambodia, in the area of our school, working on projects to provide clean water and hygiene training.

 

Deanna visited our school and then she introduced Sarin to Mr. Chea Phan who leads an organization in Siem Reap called Teuk Sa’at Organization. This company has equipment for drilling and repairing water wells and installing pumps, as well as building latrine systems and providing hygiene training. One thing led to another and by early October our school had a brand new latrine, with hand washing sinks connected to a nice water storage tank, which was connected to a new pump, which was sitting on a freshly refurbished water well. This was a project which cost approximately $2500 and was funded by the Wisconsin People from their humanitarian funds.

 

Obviously our thanks go out to Alison Mead, Deanna Shimko, and Chea Phan for their willingness to help the Spitler School, and to Peter Preston for caring enough to simply pass along some contact information. Of course I am also grateful for Pam who walked over to Peter and Sally in a hotel lobby in Hanoi and said, “Hi, where are you two from?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The middle of September arrived and it was time to return to school. Sarin held a village wide meeting for students and parents to tell them about the school rules and expectations. The buildings were all complete and we had hired a new teacher for our new fourth grade classes. We had also purchased new fourth grade school books and supplies and the new desks that were needed for the additional students. When the dust had cleared it appears that there will be 320 students attending the Spitler School during this school year.

 

 

 

 

With this many students it is a challenge to provide a school uniform to each of the children. Some of the children’s parents are able to purchase a uniform for their child, but many are simply unable to afford the white shirt and blue shorts. We are grateful to one of our donors, Mr. Terry Lyman, who has provided funds specifically designated for the purchase of school uniforms. It is always a treat to see the smiles on the students’ faces when they receive one of these nice new uniforms to wear.

 

 


 

 

We continue to have numerous tour groups who visit the school and are generous in their support by providing school supplies and sports equipment. In January a group from the Seattle area will be visiting the Spitler School. This fun-loving group calls themselves the Rainiers (named after Mt. Rainier). Pam and I first met members of this group in 2004 on a trip to Egypt, and we became official “Rainiers” when we joined them again in 2005 for a tour of Costa Rica. We had the pleasure of traveling with the Rainiers again last year on a great safari in Africa. We are happy that our good friends will be able to visit our school in January. We only regret that we are not able to be with them on this adventure.

 

We wish to acknowledge the following groups and individuals who have made recent contributions to the Spitler School Foundation:

 

Dreama Duncan

Kay Spitler

Irvin Spitler

Rae Spitler

Angela Lopes

Joline Bettendorf

Les and Shirley Hoffman

Deanna Shimko, UM Wisconsin People

Chea Phran, Teuk Sa’at Organization

Elderhostel Tour Group

 

Also a special thanks to the family of John Boulton Jr.

Mr. Boulton passed away on October 15th.

His family requested that memorial donations be made to

The Spitler School Foundation


 

Best wishes,

Danny & Pam and the rest of the Spitler Family

 

Daniel Spitler, President
Spitler School Foundation
P.O. Box 730
Peoria, AZ 85380
“Resource Providers for Cambodian School Children” www.dannypam.smugmug.com/gallery/602793/

 

Danny & Pam Spitler, World Travelers
View our travel albums at:
www.dannypam.smugmug.com
Read our travel journals at:
www.danny-pam.freewebsitehosting.com

 

 


 

School House Report – August 2007

Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of man, the balance wheel of the social machinery. Horace Mann

 

It has been another action filled month on the campus of the Spitler School in Ang Chagn Chass, Cambodia. The school’s second year of existence (2006-2007) came to a close at the end of July and our beautiful little 260 students are now enjoying a seven-week summer vacation. Like teachers and parents everywhere in the world we hope they don’t forget too much of what they have learned by the time September rolls around and it is time get back into the classroom.

 

We sent our July newsletter out on the day that Virginie Paessler arrived as a volunteer teacher for the month of July. Virginie, who is from England, heard about our school from our good friend and supporter, Lex Latkovski, and she offered her services for a month as she was spending an adventurous summer exploring Southeast Asia. She went right to work, not only teaching English to the students but also to our teachers.

 

Virginie teaches curious children many strange English words.


 

Construction continued through the month as we completed the rebuilding of the second classroom building and began work on the third and final (for now) classroom.

 

Building number two reaches the end of construction and number three rises up.


 

 

In early July Pam and I attended the Kiwanis International Convention in San Antonio, Texas, where I happen to make a contact with an organization called King Benevolent Fund. They are a Christian charitable organization with a number of programs, one of which provides parasite medicine and vitamins to impoverished children. I shared our school story with Albert Hester and learned that he was preparing to leave for Cambodia the following week with a medical team. One thing led to another and two weeks later Albert, a doctor, a nurse, and a film crew were at our school examining our kids and leaving us a supply of much needed medical supplies.

 

 


 

With all the exciting developments going on we just couldn’t end the school year without a “blow out” celebration to finish the school year. Sarin and Virginie invited all those associated with the school to attend the year-end bash, which featured lots of games, drinks and snacks for the children and a nice meal for teachers, visitors, and village leaders.

 


 


 

It has been an amazing and fulfilling year for all of us that have been associated with our two-year-old school project. It is hard to imagine that only two years have passed since Sarin sent me a photo of this little piece of land and ask if Pam and I would consider helping him to build a simple little schoolhouse as a place where a few young children could learn. Obviously we had no idea where it would lead…but perhaps God did.

 

School Site in June, 2005 Our Campus, July, 2007


 

While the kids will be a taking a break from their studies for a few weeks Sarin and Mary and others who help with the school will be busy preparing for the mid-September start of the 2007-2008 school year. We will add a fourth grade class, and we are estimating that an additional 70 students will start kindergarten, which will move our student population to approximately 330. We have hired a new teacher, which brings our teaching staff to eight. We will need to purchase new books and instructional material for the fourth grade class. We have ordered 20 more desks to handle the increased student load, and of course we need to complete the re-construction of the third and last classroom building.

 

Our wish list includes the desire to:

Purchase more water filters and mosquito nets for our children and their families.

Increase and improve our latrine facilities.

Put together a hygiene program that can be taught to the children and their families.

Facilitate additional medical and dental assistance to the children and the village.

Provide some nutritional supplements to enhance the children’s diets.

Continue to network with other organizations that might be able to assist the village.

 

We wish to thank the following individuals who contributed to the Spitler School Foundation in the last 30 days.

 

Virginie Paessler – Our Volunteer Extraordinaire

Terry Lyman

Shar Lynn Marr

Lou and Claudine Hopper

Angela Lopes

Jerry and Carol Pickens

 

We continue to be thankful that so many friends and acquaintances are so interested in this project. We are particularly appreciative to those of you who have helped out financially. Your contributions have been especially helpful now as we pay for the reconstruction of the three classroom buildings and all the costs associated with starting a new fourth grade, as well as providing teachers and supplies for 330 students in September.

 

There is a great sense of accomplishment in knowing that we are making a significant difference in the lives of some children who, two years ago, had very little hope. We certainly welcome your continued interest and support.

 

If anyone would like to have a copy of the expense reports for the foundation please send me an email request and I will be glad to provide them.

 

We have added photos to the 2007 school website you can access them directly by clicking to the following link: http://dannypam.smugmug.com/gallery/2604770/6

The newest photos begin on page six of the album.

 

Best wishes,

Danny & Pam and the rest of the Spitler Family

 

Daniel Spitler, President
Spitler School Foundation
P.O. Box 730
Peoria, AZ 85380
“Resource Providers for Cambodian School Children” www.dannypam.smugmug.com/gallery/602793/

 

Danny & Pam Spitler, World Travelers
View our travel albums at:

www.dannypam.smugmug.com
Read our travel journals at:
www.danny-pam.freewebsitehosting.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

School House Report – June 2007

It has been a fun and exciting three months since our last report, so Pam and I would like to provide a short update to the happenings at the Spitler School in Cambodia.

 

The children were out of school for three weeks during April for the Khmer New Year, which is one of Cambodia’s largest and longest holidays. It is a time when city dwellers travel back to their villages to be with family, and Sarin was able to take Mary and Vita to visit with his mother.

 

In my last report back in March I mentioned that there was a teacher in California, Lisa Schwartz, whose mother had visited the school, and Lisa offered to get her students involved in providing some help for the school. After a coin drive by the students we were overwhelmed when Lisa reported that the children from Ladera Elementary School had raised $1000. We decided to use their donation to purchase new English workbooks, new desks for our first and second grade classes, and a new slide for the playground.

 


 


 

As of my last report in March we were trying to decide about new construction of classrooms and exploring the possibility of needing to replace our original wood and thatch classrooms with a larger, traditional style school building, which would have cost in excess of $20,000 to construct. The more we thought about it the more we decided we would like to keep the character of the school as it is. Besides the larger building would involve more government bureaucracy and would take much longer. However, the original wood and thatch buildings deteriorate rapidly during the severe rainy season, and we hated to keep investing money into short-term repairs. In the end we decided to keep the buildings the same size, but rebuild them using steel frames, brick half walls, and corrugated roofs, following the methods used in the classroom that was built by the students from Singapore.

 

Once we made the decision Sarin wasted no time in getting started. At the end of April he had arranged to have the old original classroom taken down, and he quickly had the steel going up for the framework. A week later the brick half-walls and the corrugated roof were already in place.

 


 

The walls received a coat of plaster and tiles were installed for the floor. Steel grill work was placed above the half walls so that air can circulate through the building during the oppressive spring time heat, and there is even a sidewalk surrounding the building. By the end of May the classroom was complete and students were helping to clean up the construction site and move into their new classroom. The walls are painted in a color that Sarin tells us is considered a “lucky” Khmer color.

 

 

 

This building is the first of the three original buildings that will be reconstructed. The second two will be done in July when school closes for the summer vacation. Sarin is able to accomplish the reconstruction for less than $4000 for each building, which we believe is a great investment in the lives of 260 young students who are eager to learn.

 

For additional new photos of all the happenings at the Spitler School you can go to our 2007 album located at: http://dannypam.smugmug.com/gallery/2604770/2 The newest photos begin on Page 2.

 

For a look at all of the school albums you can click on the following link: http://www.dannypam.smugmug.com/Spitler School Project – Cambodia

 

Sarin, Pam and I, and all the children of Ang Chagn Chass send special thanks to the following people who have made donations to the Spitler School Foundation during the past six months. We wish you all a very happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend.

 

Lex Latkoviski

Larry and Pat Curd

Lindsey and Kyle Spitler

Rae Spitler

Dan Murphy

Robin Murphy

Susan Galliher

Lou and Claudine Hopper

Irvin Spitler

Sharlynn Mar

Les and Shirley Hoffman

Bob and Betty Rosa

Carlye Schwartz

And

The Children of Ladera Elementary School

 

 

Spitler School Foundation

P.O. Box 730

Peoria, AZ 85380

501c3 – Non-Profit Charitable Foundation

EIN #20-8085411