Page 39 of 41

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

School House Report – March 2007

There are some exciting things happening at the Spitler School in Cambodia.

When I sent my last report on Christmas Eve there were 20 students from the University of Singapore building a new classroom at the school, helping the students with their English, playing soccer, and even helping the children to plant a garden.


At the end of the project the students performed a nice dedication ceremony where the students from Singapore performed cultural dances from their country.

Here is a photo of the new building which was placed alongside the library. The building does have a concrete floor, and while the students were constructing this building they added a concrete floor to one of our other classrooms as well.

In February we authorized Sarin to purchase some playground equipment for the school and this equipment just arrived two weeks ago. As you can see it was enthusiastically welcomed by the children.

The equipment included a set of swings, see-saws, and a slide. As an illustration of the value of the American dollar in Cambodia we were able to have all this equipment fabricated for under $600. We are trying to introduce an element of fun into the school, since most of the children exist in such impoverished conditions they rarely have an opportunity to enjoy these kinds of activities.

We continue to have regular visits from tourist groups. Elderhostel groups continue to visit our school, bringing supplies and gifts for the children. We have heard that a future group plans on doing a “hands on” project during their visit. One of the last groups to arrive did so by the local motorcycle taxis called Tuk Tuks. Hopefully the roadwork that we financed last year will result in greater accessibility to tour buses.


We are continually looking at ways to provide the children with clean drinking water, which is a major cause of health problems in Cambodia. There are some inexpensive filtering systems now available which we are looking into. We have installed one of the systems at the school.

We would like to investigate the possibility of making these systems more readily available to our students and their families, along with some education about the need to protect the children from drinking polluted waters. We would also like to explore the possibility of providing some nutritional supplements to the children while at school. This could be in the form of milk products or some other source of good protein.

Other things on our “wish list” would include the purchase of computers for our library. These could be used as a resource for our teachers and to familiarize our older students with computers. We are providing information to a Rotary Club in Los Altos, California about the needs of the school. One of their members visited the school with an Elderhostel tour last year and is proposing that his club provide some financial support to the school with (hopefully) some matching funds from Rotary International.

One recent visitor to our school left a nice donation with Sarin as she and a friend passed through Cambodia on their way to Vietnam. When she returned home she told her daughter about our school. Her daughter teaches fourth and fifth grade classes in California, and we have been corresponding with her about ways that her classes might provide some assistance to the children at our school.

We continue to be surprised and grateful at the interest and generosity that our little school is receiving.

We were also excited and pleased that one of our generous school donors visited Cambodia this month and spent some time at the school. Lex Lakovski, has been a good friend since we went through a men’s weekend adventure back in 1999. Lex is living one of those dreams that so many of us have had, by taking a few years off and knocking around the world. He visited the school and spent some quality time with our kids and teachers, while exploring all of the temples around Siem Reap.


We believe that our next major project will be to replace one of the older wooden and thatch classrooms with a larger brick and mortar building which will give us the capability to handle up to 500 students. We anticipate adding another 50 to 60 students per year as we continue to add grades four through six over the next three years until we are offering kindergarten through sixth grade classes. We anticipate the cost of the building will be about $20,000.

We have added two new albums to our gallery at: www.dannypam.smugmug.com. We have reconstructed the website into categories with one category devoted to the School Project. From the home page you can click the icon for “Spitler School Project – Cambodia” and you will then see the various albums, which are dedicated to the school project. If you would like to go directly to our latest photos you can access them in our 2007 album located at: http://dannypam.smugmug.com/gallery/2604770

Once again, Pam and I wish to say thank you to all of our generous supporters and for your continued interest in the project.

Spitler School Foundation

P.O. Box 730

Peoria, AZ 85380

501c3 – Non-Profit Charitable Foundation

EIN #20-8085411