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New students, visit from Teacher Dave, Skype with kids in the UK, Teacher Beth is Boss Lady for a few weeks and details of this month's ABCs Shining Star Award - this newsletter is another busy one.  Enjoy!

Newsletter 4, May 2012

The first month of the school year has been busy and fruitful.  41 new students have joined the school and are settling in really well.  Some are so excited to be at school they have giant backpacks bigger than their entire upper body ready to fill with books, pens and pencils.  Its amusing to see them from behind because all you can see is a backpack with 2 legs.  Also this month we were lucky enough to receive a visit from Teacher Dave who delighted the children with his musical prowess and genuine warmth.  There was a Skype session with students from a primary school in London, which tied in nicely with this month's theme of "Friendship and Kindness".  Teacher Beth was in charge of the school whilst Tammy and Matt (the Directors of ABCs and Rice) had some well-earned time off.  This newsletter also contains details of a new award - the ABCs Shining Star Award.  Finally, Tammy spent the month of April in Canada bouncing around Ontario to raise awareness of ABCs and do some fundraising.  It was a whirlwind trip which included presentations at Hamilton Rotary Club, Rah Rah Rotary Sunrisers of Sudbury and various schools.  There were media interviews including 100 Huntly Street, CHCH, KICX FM and Northern Life Newspaper.  15,000 dehydrated meals were donated by the generous folk at Gleaners Christian Charities and two fundraising events were held - the ABCs and Rice Gala in Sudbury and "Mojitos and Munchies" in Hamilton.  Special thanks to everyone who helped organise these events and to those who donated money or goods. 

Sing us a song!

Teacher Dave is an Irish Australian who spent 6 months at ABCs last year teaching the kids music.  Dave is extremely passionate about music and has had a strong influence on the childrens love of singing, playing the guitar and performing, as evidenced in ABCs and Rice - the Musical (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nhNmqjblvI).  So you can imagine their excitement when Teacher Dave walked through the gates at school earlier this month!  The kids happily joined in with Dave to perform some of his original songs and also some covers, and the whole 2 days has been videoed for use at a very special event to be held in Sydney.  Details as they come to hand ...

Friendship in the 21st Century

Children make friends via all sorts of mediums these days and thanks to globalisation, there is absolutely no requirement to be in the same country.  A perfect example of this was when the kids from ABCs recently had a Skype video call with 30 children from Stoke Poges School in London.  They shared stories and chatted about things like their favourite colour, what pets they had, and their favourite soccer team.  This tied in nicely with this month's theme of 'Friendship and Kindness' as all the kids involved came away with a whole new bunch of friends and the excitement of connecting with someone on the other side of the world.

Teacher Beth is Boss Lady

There are not too many 19 years old who could be entrusted with running an NGO in a foreign country, but then again, British volunteer Beth is no ordinary 19 year old.  So when Tammy and Matt decided to have some well-earned and much-needed time off this month they didn't hesitate to ask Beth if she could be "Boss Lady".  And typically, Beth did a brilliant job.  Apart from welcoming the new kids and generally running the place, Beth also turned her hand to fixing the well, teaching keyboards and helping push the truck when it broke down.  Thankfully she found some time to snap a photo and leave the kids to do all the heavy pushing ;)

"Same same but different" -
ABCs art exhibition in Australia

As you may remember, ABCs and Rice held their inaugural art exhibition "Look! Look! Look!" recently in Siem Reap.  Aussie volunteer Monica Butler stole the idea and replicated it in Australia, naming it by the ubiquitous Cambodian phrase "Same same but different".  11 of the children's paintings were exhibited with 7 being sold to some very happy recipients.  Tammy and Matt also happened to be in the neighbourhood at the time, so dropped past to tell the story of ABCs and Rice which naturally turned everyone to tears.  Once again, a huge thanks to Teacher Bryn for developing the skills of our young artists to produce such fabulous work.

ABCs Shining Star

Amongst all the generous donations and support we receive there are a number of great stories however one is so exceptional its worth mentioning here.  One 8 year old girl in Grade 2 at St Clair Primary School, Woodbridge showed huge initiative and motivation when she decided to collect enough pencils and erasers for every child at ABCs.  To do this, she presented to the entire school at assembly and rallied her friends - and she came through with the goods.  Fantastic effort Gabrielle Amaroso - you are the first recipient of the ABCs Shining Star Award!  Thank you very, very much.
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