Snohomish principal helps build Dominican school

SNOHOMISH — In early December, Riverview Elementary School Principal Tammy Jones spent 10 days in the Dominican Republic.

She wasn’t there to enjoy sunny fun on the beach.

She was there to help build an elementary school.

Jones was one of 50 school administrators and teachers who went to the town of Constanza from Dec. 3 to 13. The trip was organized by Lifetouch, a national company that takes school and church pictures.

“It was incredible. There aren’t many words to describe it,” Jones said.

Jones said her group had to drive 4½ hours to get to the school. She saw people living in cars and cardboard houses, but they smiled and made friends with the volunteers.

Jones was selected in a drawing she entered through the National Association of Elementary School Principals in April. She considers herself lucky because she was picked on the first try. She says she’s heard of people waiting for years to be selected.

Lifetouch has been organizing these projects since 2000. All other schools built have been in Haiti. This is the first school being built in the Dominican Republic, corporate vice president Kelvin Miller said. Last year, volunteers built the first floor. This year, they added a second story to the school.

About 300 students are expected to attend the school, he said.

The organization took pictures of the volunteers and they also transmitted webcam conversations between the volunteers and their students back home.

“It was a cross-cultural experience,” Miller said.

Since it was a remote area, the volunteers had to use rudimentary tools to get the work done.

Jones had to mix concrete and mortar using a shovel. Since there was no running water, the volunteers had to carry water in buckets and with pulleys, she said.

Besides helping build the school, Jones brought with her $2,800 in school and medical supplies collected by her students and former students.

Jones said she would do it again if possible.

“All of us came back changed. I received a lot more than what I gave,” she said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Local police join thousands honoring slain Canadian officer

Abbotsford Const. John Davidson was killed Nov. 6 in a shootout with a suspected car thief.

Hard work is paying off for Mariner High senior

Mey Ly has excelled in school since moving here from Cambodia; she also serves as an intrepreter.

One arrested in Marysville in connection with robbery

The suspect was caught in the 5800 block of 60th Drive NE.

Darrington School Board race might come down to a coin flip

With a one-vote difference, a single ballot in Skagit County remains to be counted.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

No easy exit from Smokey Point shopping complex

There’s just no easy exit on this one. A reader called in… Continue reading

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

City Council OKs initial funding for Smith Avenue parking lot

The site of the former Smith Street Mill is being developed in anticipation of light rail.

Single fingerprint on robbery note leads to arrest

The holdup occurred at a U.S. Bank branch in Lynnwood in June.

Most Read