The following post was submitted by Julie Hehn, AAI's Program Director for the Layla House and Opportunity House schools. The photos were taken by both Julie Hehn and Ryan Gettler, a recent volunteer and professional photographer. That's Julie, clapping for one of the recent "honor students" at the Layla School.
As AAI’s Program Director of Education, I travel to Ethiopia two or three times a year to work at the Layla and Opportunity House schools, do in-service trainings with the teachers and to bring supplies. I came back this month from another wonderful trip to Addis Ababa. We have a new administrator at Layla School--Zelalem Cherinet. Prior to this new position, Zelalem worked in our sponsorship program and as a translator. He has years of experience working in education and was happy to get back into his old field. We had to say good-bye to Berhanu, our previous administrator, who moved on to another AAI position as a social worker - so he didn’t move far!
Zelalem, our new school director
As always during my time in Addis I have teacher meetings, visit classrooms and work with students. I continue to be impressed with the work of the many teachers and staff. It seems that they “eat up” any training with enthusiasm and joy. I always come with resource books, new curriculum, general supplies and leave with a long wish list of things that will make the school even better!
This trip I was able to schedule my visit for the end of a quarter at Layla School. Our school is broken up into four sections with three months in each. At the end of each quarter all of the students are assessed through their work and we have an award celebration. The students who are highest in their classes and those who are showing positive behaviors are given awards, typical of the system throughout Ethiopia.
This is always a fun time for the students who are filled with anticipation and enthusiasm for the ceremony. There is cake and soda for all with lots of drumming and singing. Not only do the top students receive an award (that you parents will be getting a copy of!), but most importantly they get a bag full of goodies! Ivy, our Layla Compound Coordinator, and her group of volunteers stuff a bag for each award recipient full of fun trinkets and toys! We hope it serves as inspiration for all of the students during the upcoming quarter.