All I Want For Christmas Is...A Pencil!

George Dietz, Middle School assistant principal and science teacher, provides some end-of-year perspective from our sister school in Zambia, Terranova.

"All I want for Christmas is...a pencil."

How many of us would say that and really mean it? But a quick look at the photo above shows you that for quite a few of our friends at Terranova, that sentiment is the truth. You see excited kids who are eager to show off the pencils that they were given earlier in the week. For many, that is truly the only possession that they can call their own.

The below photo is to illustrate why our Girl Scouts do a hat/glove drive each year to help provide needed items for the younger children of Terranova. When we think of Africa, we tend to think of what we have seen on TV -- hot and dry, and certainly not cold. While that may reflect some of the upper parts of Africa, the truth is that in Zambia, it can get cold enough for frost. It has been so cold when I have been there that kids wait until it heats up before they make the trek to school (most of the younger children have no coats or long pants).

As a side note, if you are wondering why the kids in hats are all holding their chins, I was doing a beard inspection of the kids. It is a yearly ritual where they touch my beard (Zambians typically do not have much facial hair) and I check their chin. You will notice a few girls in their too.

So, to summarize, the next time you are doing your math problems and are frustrated, or are settling in for yet another final exam, or are simply taking notes on some complicated material, look at your pencil and realize how blessed we are as a nation.

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