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RAEDELL COOGLER AND JESSICA FREDRICKS
Art and Music Teachers
Bethune Academy
Haines City, Fla.
Cable System: Bright House Networks


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Four years ago, Raedell Coogler and Jessica Fredricks were introduced to a cousin of their principal, Sharon Knowles, who founded an orphanage in Kokstad, South Africa. After hearing stories of these children, often parentless, hungry and victims of AIDS, Coogler and Fredricks embarked on a series of projects to raise money to help feed and educate these orphans.

Several of their projects employed resources from Bright House Networks as their jumping off point. Their first project, "Jumping for Jazz," was designed to raise awareness of the African American experience through the study of African American musicians and artists. Students viewed biographies produced by Historyâ„¢ on Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong and an A&E feature on B.B. King.

To raise money for the Kokstad orphanage, Coogler and Fredricks implemented an arts immersion experience for their students, guiding them to create jazz portraits to be auctioned off to the public. Other fundraising projects have included a school-wide aluminum can drive and the refashioning of old baritone ukuleles into works of art that were also auctioned off. In total, Coogler, Fredricks and their students have raised more than $5,000 for the children of the Kokstad orphanage while also enhancing their community's awareness of the circumstances of others.

"Our students are learning not only history and geography - they are learning how to be good citizens and stewards of their resources. Now they realize that one of the most important things we can do in our lives is help others who are less fortunate than we are."