St. Michael’s students send school supplies to school in Kenya

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
St. Michael’s Principal Dave Paddock and his wife, Terry, delivered two suitcases full of school supplies to the school in Kenya.

Last spring retired teacher Jim Nowak visited St. Michael’s School in Penn Yan to teach the students there about the school he has built in rural Kenya.

The response from the boys and girls at St. Michael’s continues today.   

Principal Dave Paddock and his wife Terry journeyed to the Mbake Oromo School earlier this month to deliver two large suitcases full of much needed supplies donated by the students and staff of St. Michael’s as well as other area contributors.   

Paddock says the books, coloring books, crayons, pencils, erasers, and other school supplies were not only sorely needed, but greatly appreciated by the principal, teachers, and boys and girls in the Kenyan school.

Paddock, who has traveled extensively throughout the world, stated the conditions in rural Kenya were as bad as he has seen.  “People really have nothing, kids don’t have shoes. They walk up to 5 miles to get to school. They carry sticks with them to school so a fire can be built to cook lunch, and overall life is as primitive as one can imagine.  Despite all that the people are tremendously kind, friendly, and quite content,” he says.

In addition, Paddock commented, “I am extremely proud of the boys and girls here at St. Michael’s for their generosity and for their compassion for others.  We have developed a real connection with the Mbake Oromo School and we believe at St. Mike’s that it is very important for our kids to appreciate all that we have and to help others less fortunate‚“

The students at St. Michael’s have written letters to the students at Mbake Oromo twice within the last year and Paddock carried return letters from the Kenyan children with him upon his return to St. Michael’s.  

“I want our boys and girls to develop a global perspective and to understand that we are all connected.  Our relationship with this little school in Kenya and with the students there is really helping our kids understand that,” Paddock states.

Paddock plans to continue the connection with Mbake Oromo and is thinking of expanding it beyond St. Michael’s School.  

Plans are forming now to develop a Penn Yan/Kenya program to encourage members of the community to join together in support of the Mbake Oromo School.  

He hopes to involve students from the Penn Yan Central Schools and others in our area who would like to be involved.  

“The greatest needs are both school supplies and medical supplies as Jim (Nowak) has led the building of a medical clinic next to the school and there will surely be a shortage of supplies for the clinic just as there is for the school.  I know many in Penn Yan will be eager to get involved and soon I hope to announce our plans for all those interested in helping.”

Paddock says despite the primitive conditions, the people in Kenya are tremendously kind and friendly.