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School House Report – June 2008 Part 1

The third year of the Spitler School is winding down to its final month, and we couldn’t be more pleased. After all of the structural improvements and building projects of 2007 we are sure that our hardworking team, led by Sarin, was happy to have a few months where all they needed to do was to teach those 320 little kids.

April is the time for Cambodia’s biggest holiday, and we closed the school for a good portion of the month as the students and their families celebrated the Cambodian New Year. Sarin made his new year’s celebration very special by using this time to coordinate the drilling of a new water well in a very poor village where he had lived as a small boy.

Brenda Davis, a California resident, who visited the school in January, provided the funds to the Spitler School Foundation designated for this project, and of course Sarin did a great job of making all of the arrangements. Until the drilling of this well the only access that the village had to clean water was the rainwater that they would collect in clay pots.

Sarin also shared some of our school supplies with the village school, which has two part time teachers and very little access to any funds for supplies. We were happy to share some of our supplies with these needy children.

Back at the Spitler School our supply of school materials increased substantially after visits from our good friend Richard Chong bringing gifts from Singapore and the Chew Hua Seng Foundation. We especially appreciate the gift of two computers for the school. Their visit was followed by Selina Heng, also from Singapore, who brought school supplies, gifts for the children, and some special snacks.

The new books donated by these two groups were put to immediate good use in the school’s library.

Pam and I recently enjoyed meeting a charming lady from Cambodia who survived the genocide of the Khmer Rouge, emigrated to the United States, and survived many trials to become a recent author of a compelling book about her life. Oni Vitandham lives in Long Beach and her biography is entitled, On the Wings of a White Horse. You can also learn more about Oni by visiting her website at:

We can endorse her book as a compelling story about her will to survive and overcome horrendous tribulations as a young child. She now operates a foundation and is working to provide educational opportunities to children in Cambodia. We enjoyed meeting Oni when she was invited to speak at the Pebble Creek Community Center in west Phoenix.

The school continues to be blessed by the generosity of many friends and family, but we also get surprised by unexpected acts of kindness. Recently our school children became the beneficiaries of a generous gesture on the part of Sedona residents Michael McKinney and his bride Nancy Ruby. Michael had visited the school during the school’s first year and he and Nancy asked their friends and family to make donations to the Spitler School Foundation in lieu of wedding gifts.

This generous gesture on their part resulted in over $1400 of donations to the foundation. From all of us associated with the Spitler School we send Michael and Nancy our thanks and our warmest good wishes for a wonderful life together.

The Cambodian school year will continue to the end of July and then we will begin preparing for the new school year starting in mid-September. We will be adding 40 new desks, which will be purchased using funds from Mr. Karsten Schroeder, from England. We appreciate Karsten’s interest in supporting the school and also we send a big thank you to our volunteer from last summer, Virginie Paessler, for introducing Karsten to our work in Cambodia.

New projects at the school include adding a perimeter fence using wooden posts and three strands of wire, which will protect the school from domestic animals which can wander into the school and cause damage to the buildings and the gardens. We are also adding a small building to house our generator. It needs to stay out of the weather and now that we have two computers, which will need to have electricity, we will be operating it more often and need to get it out of the classroom. We hope to be able to increase the use of the generator to provide electricity for television learning programs and perhaps some evening events for the village where lighting will be needed.

We are also grateful to Lyon Travel, who brings many Elderhostel groups to visit the school throughout the year. They are always generous with their gifts of school supplies, and in July one of their groups will be assisting with a work project at the school. Also, we are excited about another visit to the school in July, as my daughter Lindsey will be visiting Cambodia with her friend Jana. Lindsey is an attorney with the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, but she loves traveling the world and will be visiting Thailand and Cambodia on her first trip to Southeast Asia.

With the slumping value of the dollar we plan to increase salaries for our teachers when school resumes in September, and we will need to hire a new teacher as we add fifth grade to the school. We are also asking our teachers to increase their hours so that we can add more school time for the older students. While costs have increased we continue to feel that we get an amazing value for the funds that are expended to give over 300 children a chance for an education and the hope of a better future.

We sincerely appreciate the interest and support that we continue to receive from so many friends around the world.

Danny and Pam, Directors
Spitler School Foundation
P.O. Box 730
Peoria, AZ 85380
“Resource Providers for Cambodian School Children”

IRS EIN # 20-8085411

School House Report – February 2008

Since our last report in November there have been lots of exciting things happening at the Spitler School in Cambodia. The beginning of classes in September featured the start of our fourth grade class along with a new teacher bringing our total number of teachers to eight. Classes began for 320 students using three newly reconstructed classroom buildings.


This year the Spitler School has become even more of a tourist attraction. In the past few months at least ten different tour groups have visited the school. Most of these groups have generously provided school supplies for the children, but one group in particular was especially generous. Mr. Richard Chong, from Singapore, brought a group to visit in early November. With support from the staff of MindChamps Holdings in Singapore this group brought not only a large supply of school supplies, but they also brought food, clothing, games and sports equipment for the children along with an individual gift for every student. We are especially grateful for the generosity of this group and their CEO David Cheam and Director Cathrine Du.



In December we had the opportunity to purchase a small piece of land that was adjacent to the school playground. The owner of this 1000 square foot plot needed money for medical expenses for his family and offered us this piece of land for $125. After adding some fill dirt to the plot the students and teachers went to work planting a vegetable garden on the land.



The most exciting event of the past few months has been the visit by the medical staff of the Angkor Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap. Due to the efforts of Virginie Paessler, during her time at the school and the follow up by Sarin, a group of medical staff from the hospital visited the school on January 24. During a full day of work the doctors and medical workers were able to exam 290 students. Many of the students were treated for problems like chicken pox, measles, colds, coughs and ear infections. The hospital workers provided medications like sodium chloride, Amoxicillin, oral dehydration salts, pain and fever medications and multivitamins.


The medical staff also created a medical record for each of the children, which can be used to give them priority for treatment at the local children’s hospital in Siem Reap, where they can be treated for free. We are hopeful that better hygiene, along with availability of clean water, and perhaps an improved diet will result in a healthier group of students at the Spitler School.





Finally we are happy to report on another group of travelers who visited the school during the first week of February. This group, calling themselves the Rainiers, have been traveling companions of ours on three previous trips and they finished a tour of Vietnam with a visit to Cambodia, which included a stop at the Spitler School.



The Rainiers, whose name comes from Mt. Rainier near Seattle, have become our good friends over the years and this week they became good friends of the Spitler School as they donated funds to purchase 50 sets of school uniforms and distributed them to many of the students during their visit.




We continue to be grateful and appreciative of all the support that the Spitler Foundation receives from our many friends and from the visitors who have the opportunity to travel to Cambodia, sit in the classrooms, and meet the students who are the beneficiaries of their generosity.


We like to acknowledge the following people and groups who have made contributions to the Spitler School Foundation over the past three months.


MindChamps Holdings – Singapore

David Cheam

Cathrine Du

Richard Chong

Rae Spitler

Kay Spitler

Ida Cutbertson

Joel Armstrong

Joan Gilbert

Virginie Paessler

Ruper-Bowen Jones

Angela Lopes

Larry Luken

Judy Horowitz

Lisa Hoffmeyer

Mike and Bev Maxwell – Rainiers Group

Al and Inge Morris – Rainiers Group

Pat and Larry Curd – Rainier Group

Hank and Cheryl Kiefer – Rainier Group

Charlene Madison – Rainier Group

Brenda Davis – Rainier Group

Larry and Kathy McGinnis – Rainier Group


From the teachers and children of the Spitler School, and all those who are positively impacted by this project, we sincerely appreciate your caring concern and generosity.


Danny & Pam Spitler


Daniel Spitler, President
Spitler School Foundation
P.O. Box 730
Peoria, AZ 85380
“Resource Providers for Cambodian School Children”

IRS EIN # 20-8085411

Information on the school can also be found at:

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”


Danny & Pam Spitler, World Travelers
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