Dartmouth Dance Student chooses Peace Corps Benin

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By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, July 02, 2001 - 12:36 pm: Edit Post

Dartmouth Dance Student chooses Peace Corps Benin

Dartmouth Dance Student chooses Peace Corps Benin

Dartmouth dance student chooses Peace Corps
By Joe Mello, Standard-Times correspondent

DARTMOUTH -- While college graduates across the country seek new careers with big bucks and benefits, one local resident decided to seek a different path.

Jessica LaBaugh, the daughter of Ross and Mary LaBaugh of Dartmouth, departed for Benin last week as a member of the Peace Corps to spend more than two years teaching English as a second language.

A recent graduate from California State University with a degree in dance, Ms. LaBaugh will postpone the stage lights and go into an African village without electricity or running water.

Her butterflies before a performance will be replaced by fears of malaria. And instead of rubbing elbows with well-to-do theatergoers, she'll mingle with people with an average yearly income of $265.

After speaking with a friend from high school and recruiters who are doing extraordinary things with the values they learned during their Peace Corps service, Ms. LaBaugh decided to follow their examples.

Many in this day and age will wonder why Ms. LaBaugh is taking such a path. Her explanation is simple, as it is profound.

"I love to teach and I couldn't give myself an excuse not to go to Benin," she said.

Ms. LaBaugh will take with her to Benin years of studying French (the country's main language along with many tribal dialects) but no ability to speak it.

"I'm rather ashamed that I can only speak one language," she said. "Now I will learn to speak French and learn to be the best possible teacher for any student."

Achieving a degree in dance has given Ms. LaBaugh the physical, emotional and mental competence needed for her Peace Corps work ahead. Dancing is also a large part of life in Benin, which she intends on researching and bringing to her modern dancing.

"Voodoo-based dancing is vital to Benin's culture and art," she said. "Learning more about this form of dance should enhance my own dancing."

Asked if she hoped that her efforts would make an impact in Benin, Ms. LaBaugh said that teaching the people English could help them rise above their $265 yearly income.

The Peace Corps is celebrating its 39th anniversary this year. About 6,700 volunteers from the United States serve in 77 developing countries. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have either a college degree or three to five years experience in a needed skill area.

By ChristopherRobbins on Monday, January 28, 2002 - 6:47 am: Edit Post

Oh Cringe. I hope they do the follow up after she's actually spent some time in the country. I'm sure she is laughing at that article now:

"Voodoo-based dancing is vital to Benin's culture and art," she said. "Learning more about this form of dance should enhance my own dancing."

So, Ms. LaBaugh, have you helped them rise above their $265 yearly income by teaching them English yet? I mean, that's what peace corps is for. right?

-Christopher Robbins
Toucountouna 95-97

By Anonymous (user-119ave3.biz.mindspring.com - on Tuesday, March 07, 2006 - 12:53 pm: Edit Post

My Dad Dennis was in the Peace Corps Benin!
He says HI

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