January 26, 2005: Headlines: COS - Thailand: Tsunami: Annapolis Capital: Paulette Seiler, a teacher for the hearing impaired at Lindale Middle School served in the Peace Corps in Thailand from 1969 until 1971

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Thailand: Special Report: 2004 - Tsunami hits Southeast Asia: January 26, 2005: Headlines: COS - Thailand: Tsunami: Annapolis Capital: Paulette Seiler, a teacher for the hearing impaired at Lindale Middle School served in the Peace Corps in Thailand from 1969 until 1971

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Paulette Seiler, a teacher for the hearing impaired at Lindale Middle School served in the Peace Corps in Thailand from 1969 until 1971

Paulette Seiler, a teacher for the hearing impaired at Lindale Middle School served in the Peace Corps in Thailand from 1969 until 1971

Paulette Seiler, a teacher for the hearing impaired at Lindale Middle School served in the Peace Corps in Thailand from 1969 until 1971

Central students help tsunami victims
By RODNEY CALVER, For The Capital

Eight students at Central Special School look like kids who can at best ask for help, not give it themselves. Some can't walk. Most can't speak. Seven are sight-impaired. And all have serious developmental disabilities.

But by doing odd jobs over the past 10 days, they've raised more than $600 to help young victims of last month's Southeast Asian tsunami.

"We wanted to make a contribution," said special education teacher Joyce Harai, who came up with the idea.

Her students are among 200 at the Edgewater school that offers a preschool for children ages 3 to 5 and a full-day program for children with severe disabilities, ages 6 to 21.

"Our students have been recipients of some significant donations in the past and we wanted to give back to the world community by having our children work for those in need."

The children took part in a "work-athon," completing tasks including dusting the media room, washing tables in the cafeteria and collecting recycling for teachers and office staff. They were assisted by teachers Rolinda Collinson, Donna Rudnicky and Julie Wright and volunteer May Root of Edgewater.

To teach students about Thailand, where more than 4,000 people were killed by the earthquake and tsunami, Mrs. Harai said wanted to produce a Thai atmosphere, with artifacts from the region and clothing that the students could touch and wear. Several of the children have sensory impairment.

To ensure authenticity, she turned to her friend Paulette Seiler, a teacher for the hearing impaired at Lindale Middle School who served in the Peace Corps in Thailand from 1969 until 1971.

Miss Seiler provided a Thai puppet, a flute, a picture of a Thai dancer and a pasin, a wrap worn by Thai people when relaxing, and a tape featuring music from Thailand. She also helped Mrs. Harai create wall letters of the Thai alphabet in jasmine rice so students could feel the outline of the characters.

"It was wonderful how (Ms. Harai) was able to expose the children to such a variety of experiences," said Miss Seiler.

Other artifacts from the Thai region were provided by Penny Arp, who is a friend of the school nurse at Central Middle.

Ric Chesek, the school's principal, said: "The work we do here is so different. But this exercise has helped the kids recognize the significance of their own self-worth and dignity in helping others."

The students who took part in the Helping Hands for Thailand project were Michaila Disney, 8, of Edgewater; Jacey Heuer, 11, of Crownsville; Derrick Hopkins, 8, of Annapolis; Sarah Neuman, 8, of Arnold; Adrianna Monday, 7, of Odenton; Kaitlyn Samuels, 8, of Crofton; Shawn Smith, 10, of Gambrills; and Emily Viera, 9, of Edgewater.

The check, which will be sent to Save the Children, will be handed to Mr. Chesek at a ceremony on Friday. The reward for the students and those who contributed? Thai ice cream that the kids are making especially for the occasion.

Rodney Calver is a freelance writer in Harwood.





When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Annapolis Capital

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Thailand; Tsunami

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