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Irvington Middle School Students Donate $500 To Support Literacy In Africa

Irvington Middle School students raised money during their annual Mardi Gras celebration in February to support literacy in French-speaking countries in Africa. They made a generous donation of $500 to the Niger School Fund.
Irvington Middle School students raised money during their annual Mardi Gras celebration in February to support literacy in French-speaking countries in Africa. They made a generous donation of $500 to the Niger School Fund. Photo Credit: Irvington Middle School

IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Middle School students in Deanna Tessler’s French class at Irvington Middle School recently donated $500 to the Niger School Fund, which was established through the Fund for African Relief and Education.

“Our students were excited to raise money for this wonderful initiative to purchase French-language books for schools in Niger and Senegal,” said Tessler, who also advises the French Club. “I am so proud of them. We are grateful to Isabel Dillener of RTI International in the Department of Education in Dakar and her family here in Irvington for letting us know about the tremendous need for French- language books and maps.”

The students raised the money during their annual Mardi Gras celebration in February, which featured French-themed Mardi Gras prizes and donations of handmade items by students Katy McLoughlin and Devin Reilly, and Social Studies Teacher Deborah Scofield.

The students also hosted a pajama day on Mardi Gras and enjoyed a pizza lunch in teachers Christina Mitchell and Alicia Rios’ homeroom, which raised the most amount of money that day.

The middle school has been celebrating Mardi Gras for 13 years, and each year students raise money for a French-related organization or cause. In the past, they’ve donated money to victims of the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. For the past six years, they have donated money to support literacy in French-speaking countries in Africa.

“The pictures of the schools in Africa, some with dirt floors and open walls, prompts rich discussions in our classes as we compare American schools with schools in other parts of the world,” Tessler said. “My hope is that students learn that they can make a difference, and that we are developing and nurturing a spirit of giving to others that they carry well beyond middle school.”

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