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Students work hard for the money

Pegasus School seventh-graders spend academic year raising money to help rebuild a school devastated by earthquake in Haiti last year.

June 15, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com
  • Seventh-graders Christopher Ford and Matin Eshaghi sell T-shirts they designed at the Pegasus International World Market for Haiti Entrepreneur Day.
Seventh-graders Christopher Ford and Matin Eshaghi… (Courtesy Pegasus…)

Seventh-graders at the Pegasus School in Huntington Beach ended the academic year with much more than lessons from textbooks. They gave less fortunate students in another country the gift of an education.

The students spent the entire academic year working with a team of three other schools from around the country — Texas, Massachusetts and Hollywood — to raise funds and rebuild a school in Haiti, said Jim Conti, social studies teacher at Pegasus.

Elie Dubois School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is one of many schools that were destroyed by last year's devastating earthquake.

"I personally don't think there should be any boundaries between all countries," said seventh-grader Matin Eshaghi, 12, who participated in the fundraiser. "I wanted to make Haiti a better place, and I felt good about myself that I was doing this, so I decided to do this and help them."

Over the academic year, the Pegasus students raised about $2,500, money that will be matched by the Bezos Family Foundation, an organization that supports educational programs.

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Pegasus and its three partners are among many school groups around the country that have so far raised $136,000 through the Student Rebuild program to rebuild several schools in Haiti, Conti said.

Pegasus' students and their teammates got the chance to meet through video conference calls, where they learned about each other, set out their goals and learned earthquake preparation, he said.

Raising funds was done a variety of ways. Some students made hats, while others, like Matin, made T-shirts with friends and sold them.

The idea was to get students not only to raise the funds, but also to think like entrepreneurs, Conti said.

"The students didn't just go ask people for money," he said. "They actually worked for it to help raise the funds."

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