Golden Sunbeam school

Students pose outside the Golden Sunbeam Montessori School in eastern Ghana.

Elementary school students in Ammon are reading to raise money for students to attend school in Ghana.

Students at Monticello Montessori Public Charter School asked their families or close family friends to sponsor their reading for this week, pledging a few cents for every minute they read by Friday. The students then log the number of minutes they read on a chart and donate the money to a scholarship fund for Golden Sunbeam Montessori in the rural village of Essem.

Golden Sunbeam International School was founded in 1989 outside of Ghana’s capital of Accra to teach local students at all levels, including the rural Montessori school. The charity organizing the week-long reading marathon to raise money for the school, Golden Sunbeam Foundation, was founded by Idaho Falls couple Emmanuel and Natasha Ohene Opare. Their children attend Monticello Montessori, which is why the school was selected to raise funds for the similar school in Ghana.

This is the first event the school has held to raise money for a school or group in another country. Natasha Ohene Opare said that students had seemed excited about the reading marathon when she visited the school Monday and called the project a win-win for both schools involved.

“The kids are going to read more and help somebody. It combines the academic skills for the students with the service aspect, which is definitely a win,” Opare said.

Classes at the Montessori school in Ammon are taking different approaches to encourage students to read more often this week. Elementary teacher Emi Walker is setting aside much of her afternoon class aside as reading time for the fundraiser.

“Some teachers are doing this in the morning, some teachers are just sending (the reading log) home with the students. But it’s a schoolwide effort,” Walker said.

Opare hopes that the weeklong fundraiser will earn $2,500, enough for an entire class of students to attend another year at the Ghanaian boarding school. A similar reading fundraiser for the Golden Sunbeam Foundation has been held for the last two years at Westside Elementary School in Springville, Utah.

Contact Brennen with news tips at 208-542-6711.

Kauffman reports on health care and city events for the Post Register.