WAYNE, NJ - Prior to the shutdown of Wayne Public Schools, the student council at Randall Carter Elementary school traveled 7,000 miles to Uganda without leaving their classroom. Though this event is not new news, the story just came to us and perhaps it will harken us all back to a more innocent time...six weeks ago. 

Thanks to the internet and virtual technology, the Randall Carter Student Council were able to make new friends with the students at Heart for People, a school located in Uganda, Africa. Heart for People is a non-profit organization that provides education to orphans and other vulnerable children who cannot attend school otherwise. The organization forms relationships with schools in the United States, allowing the students to video chat and learn about each other’s culture.

During a video conference chat, Randall Carter Student Council members gathered around a projector screen as they got a chance to virtually meet ten students from Heart for People. Students took turns asking each other questions. They were surprised to discover how many things they had in common. Both enjoy playing sports. Many found similarity in their favorite school subjects, while others discovered they both had a passion for writing. There were also several questions that showed the differences. Randall Carter students were shocked when asked if their swimming lakes also had cobras. The students also shared their future goals after school. Some hoped to become a pilot and travel the globe, others wished to become a scientist and doctor to create a cure for HIV.

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The Randall Carter Student Council is comprised of students grades three through five. Each representative and class officers are elected after running a school-wide campaign. Overseen by fifth grade teachers, Laura Mazza and Serge Sosnov, the Student Council meet monthly, as they make school spirit week and philanthropic decisions for their student body of peers.

“This partnership is an eye opener to reality” said Mazza, the recent Wayne School Board Honor Educator of the Year. “As educators it is our responsibly to teach our students about other cultures and show that even if we live worlds apart, we all have the similar dreams and interests.”  

This isn’t the first time that Randall Carter Student Council partnered with Heart for People. In 2018, Randall Carter was able to raise $1,400 for the school. With that money, Randall Carter was able to gift the Heart for People students 49 desks. This year, the Student Council hopes to double that number so they can have another video conference chat with their new friends.

“While we are fortunate to have access to virtual technology and ensure each student at Randall Carter has a proper school desk, our friends in Uganda don’t,” said Sosnov. “We are working together to raise donations for their school, so they can have the means to educate and house their current roster of 300 students.

Recently, the school lost everything, desks, books, and even its building. Randall Carter Student Council continues to fundraise for Heart for People. Anyone who wishes to donate is available to by visiting the Heart for People website and clicking on the “Donate” tab on the right-hand corner.