Simsbury Elementary School Raises $12K To Build School In Ecuador

Simsbury elementary school students raised $12,000 to build an entire school in Ecuador

SIMSBURY — When sixth-grader Ian Costello learned that Tootin' Hills Elementary School had raised $12,000 to build a school in Ecuador, he said he "went bonkers."

"It's nuts," Ian said. "I always like to say it started off with a stupid idea: Let's start a community service club at our school. I never thought my friends would be so supportive of me and my journey."

The money was raised through the school's Take Action Club, which was founded two years ago in conjunction with the international charity Free the Children, club co-leader and parent Debi Ackels said. The $10,000 school will be built this summer in Los Rios, Ecuador, she said.

The 50 students in the club then voted on what to do with the remaining $2,000. Ackels said $1,000 will go to training 10 teachers, $500 will go toward furniture and school supplies and $500 will allow two Ecuadorean families to purchase a goat and chickens to sustain their families.

Ackels said the students raised money through personal fundraising campaigns.

"Our students realized how fortunate they are to live in this school community where we have many resources and parental support and everything to make them successful in school," Tootin' Hills Principal Kevin Cazzetta said. "These children didn't. They had no opportunity."

Ian said the club chose to build the school in Ecuador because if they wanted to visit, it wasn't too far away. He said the students were also sensitive to the struggles children in Ecuador face.

"A lot of kids, especially the indigenous people in Ecuador, don't have a chance to go to school and are put into labor," he said.

Sixth-grader Keeley Flaherty said she was shocked when she learned how much money was raised. She said she joined the Take Action Club because she realized how fortunate she was, and wanted to make others fortunate, too.

"I never thought we would raise enough money to build a school," Keeley said. "I'm really excited for the kids that are going to be able to go there because they will be able to get an education and make a difference in the world."

Copyright © 2018, CT Now