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Ticonderoga students

TICONDEROGA - Students from a war-torn nation have sent thanks to their counterparts in Ticonderoga.

A group of Afghanistan students recently expressed gratitude to Ticonderoga Middle School for their financial contributions and support through the Kids 4 Afghan Kids program.

Kids 4 Afghan Kids is a Michigan-based non-profit organization whose goal is to re-establish educational facilities for boys and girls in Afghanistan and to address poor health conditions.

Ticonderoga Middle School students have raised more than $1,000 for the program, according to teacher Laura Kiely, who heads up the effort.

The Ti campaign started when students read The Bread Winner. It's the story of an Afghan girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to find work under harsh Taliban rule following her father's arrest.

Students were so interested in the story that Kiely invited Jill Vickers, a retired Ti teacher and former Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan, to tell students stories of the country and its way of life.

"The kids were really interested in learning more about Afghanistan and its culture," Kiely said. "It's hard for them to understand that girls aren't allowed in school, that they risk death by going to secret schools."

Vickers told Ti students about the Kids 4 Afghan Kids program and agreed to match any student contributions.

Kiely and her students started collecting money four years ago and they intend to continue the program.

"Afghanistan is still fresh in our history and will be for a while," Kiely said.

The book is a good starting point to discuss Afghanistan, Kiely noted.

"The book is quite a shock for students like ours who live in a nation where education is a priority," Kiely said. "It's quite a contrast from Afghanistan."

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