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Franklin Elementary students, staff raise more than $11K for African library

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For the North Journal
Parents Tim Aguglia (left) and Jason Mauser try to block a shot by North Allegheny Senior High School teacher Jill Spark during the fourth annual Franklin Elementary Parent/Staff Basketball Game on Friday, April 12, 2013, at Ingomar Middle School. Proceeds benefited the Kilimanjaro Education Foundation.
Randy Jarosz | For the North Journal
North Allegheny Senior High School teacher Dan Long puts up a shot over parent John Pastor of Franklin Park during the fourth annual Franklin Elementary Parent/Staff Basketball Game on Friday, April 12, 2013, at Ingomar Middle School. Proceeds benefited the Kilimanjaro Education Foundation
Randy Jarosz | For the North Journal
Franklin Elementary School student Victoria Ren, 8, of Franklin Park cheers on both teams during the fourth annual Franklin Elementary Parent/Staff Basketball Game on Friday, April 12, 2013, at Ingomar Middle School. Proceeds benefited the Kilimanjaro Education Foundation.

Franklin Elementary School students got a lesson in appreciation when a visitor from a nonprofit told them about two schools in Tanzania where the library was a shelf with a few old books.

In the four years since, the Franklin Park school's mission to make a difference has paid off in the form of a new library for students at the public Eluwai Primary School and the private Noonkodin Secondary School for girls in Tanzania in eastern Africa.

Students and staff at Franklin Elementary, part of the North Allegheny School District, raised more than $11,679 to build the library in phases.

The library, a freestanding building that cost about $15,000 to complete, was finished earlier this year, said Todd Grossman, founder and president of a New York-based nonprofit, the Kilimanjaro Education Foundation, or KEF.

The foundation, which provided the balance of the money to build the library, works to bring the educational opportunities that exist in developed counties to underprivileged children in African countries.

Franklin Park resident Jeffrey Durosko provides pro bono communication services from his company to the foundation. In 2009, Durosko linked the foundation to Franklin Elementary, where his two daughters were enrolled.

“When you see a project like the things that KEF does, they're bringing something to kids in Africa that our kids just completely take for granted,” Durosko said.

Some of Franklin Elementary School's fundraising efforts included school-spirit and theme days, in which students paid $1 each to wear their favorite sports team's licensed clothing or dress like classmates for twin day, Principal Jeff Anderchak said.

A charity basketball game played by school district staff members and students' parents this spring at in Ingomar Middle School — the staff won 53-34 — raised about $2,100 for the library. The school also has used basketball games as library fundraisers in previous years.

Community support enabled the school to exceed its $10,000 fundraising goal for the library and raise the money in four years instead of the projected five to seven, Anderchak said.

Julia Moose and Melina Tripoli, both 11, who just finished the fifth grade, sold friendship bracelets they made at the game and raised $60.

“I've learned that there are many people in the world that haven't had as much experience with the things that we have in America,” Julia said.

The Tanzanian library will be named after Franklin Elementary School, Grossman said. About $3,000 to $5,000 more will be needed for furniture and books.

Franklin Elementary School's work isn't finished.

“We'll continue to contribute to put more textbooks, more materials, more furniture, more whatever it is that they may need,” Anderchak said.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can bereached at 412-380-5662 .

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