Tuckahoe Builds Connections

By Mitch Pascal, Principal, Tuckahoe ES, Arlington, VA

Last year Tuckahoe Elementary School embarked on a partnership with Matuwa Primary School in Bupoto, Uganda.  As principal of Tuckahoe, I wanted to experience first hand Uganda’s culture and geography, as well as further develop the personal relationships we had begun to establish. So I traveled to Uganda myself for 15 days.

As an elementary school principal, I also want my own students to see the value in learning about how other people live around the world. I want them to appreciate the abundant resources we have here to help make our lives easier.  Upon my return to school in September, I shared many presentations about my Uganda trip with my staff, students, and the parent community — all of which were well received.

What touched my heart the most was the response of many Tuckahoe students who, completely on their own, decided to raise money that could be sent to REACH to support our friends at Matuwa. Their admirable actions convinced me that this connection with Matuwa Primary School can truly change the lives of our students!

Early in the year, a 2nd grader brought  in money that he raised with some friends by running a lemonade stand.

Some of our Webelo scouts braved some cold weather to organize a hot chocolate and Rice Krispie treat sale, also donating all their profits to REACH.

And one of our fifth graders, whose family has been involved with REACH for many years, set up shop at a local farmers market, asking people to donate $1.00 for every pair of shoes they have or bike they own, again with proceeds benefiting REACH.

For me, it has been extremely rewarding to watch Tuckahoe students develop a more global view of the world and recognize what it means to help others.  We’ve discussed how what we do isn’t simply about raising money.  Our support has helped build a kitchen at Matuwa to provide lunch for hungry students and start a library there to provide books for hungry minds.  I look forward to Tuckahoe’s continued partnership with Matuwa and watching my own students grow as well.

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