Hershey Launches Innovative Distance Learning Program to Connect Children in
U.S. and Rural Ghana
*Fourth-graders at Milton Hershey School in PA Share Experiences with
School Kids in Assin Fosu, Ghana
*Program Extends ‘Hershey Learn to Grow’ Partnership with Source Trust and
Facilitates Unique Cultural Exchange
*Cisco Video Collaboration Technology Connects Classrooms More Than 5,200
HERSHEY, Pa. -- November 12, 2012
The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) has launched a unique distance learning
program linking school children in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Ghana through
real-time, high-definition technology that creates a common, virtual
The program allows approximately 80 elementary students to learn together
based on a curriculum developed by teachers in Hershey and Ghana. Hershey is
the largest U.S. chocolate maker and Ghana is a world leader in cocoa
The Hershey Learn to Grow: Ghana Distance Learning Program is a
first-of-its-kind program developed in collaboration with the Milton Hershey
School, the M.S. Hershey Foundation and Hershey Story Museum, Cisco, and
African partners that include the Assin Fosu school, Ghana Education Service,
Ghana Cocoa Board and Source Trust.
“We are thrilled by how well our students have responded to this new way of
learning about Ghana and seeing links between cocoa growing and chocolate
making,” said Joel Crowley, fourth grade teacher at Milton Hershey School.
“Everyone in Hershey has been inspired by the passion the children and
teachers in Ghana have for learning together through this powerful
“In Ghana, we are focused on bringing the highest quality education to our
rural schools and believe this technology-based programming is a major step
forward,” said Eric Gyeke, headmaster of the FOSCO Demonstration School in
Ghana. “Our children are delighted by the relationships they are forming with
the Milton Hershey School students.”
Using high-definition telepresence video technology from Cisco, 11- and
12-year-old students in Assin Fosu, Ghana, a rural town located in the Central
Region, are participating face-to-face in a life-like virtual classroom
program with fourth-grade students located on a different continent at Milton
Hershey School (MHS) in Hershey, Pa. The MHS students connect to Ghana from
The Hershey Story Museum’s Chocolate Lab located in downtown Hershey, Pa.
Teachers from both schools, in addition to educators from the museum, lead the
sessions together, following the same curriculum and lesson plans.
Based on the early success of the Hershey’s Learn to Grow: Ghana Distance
Learning program, the partners have decided to extend the program – originally
slated for 10 modules over two months – through the full academic year and
explore opportunities to further expand the program.
“At Milton Hershey School, we try to emphasize to our students that they are a
very important part of a bigger community, and this program takes it one step
further,” said Dr. Anthony Colistra, President of the School. “Students are
engaging with their peers in Ghana for valuable lessons in subjects like
geography and science. While they are participating in this experiential
learning exercise, they are also finding out that despite distance and
cultural differences, they have a lot in common.”
The Ghana Distance Learning Program is one component of a comprehensive set of
programs implemented by The Hershey Company to engage with cocoa communities
and improve the lives of cocoa families around the world.
Students from both countries connect every two weeks and go through six
structured lesson plans over the course of three months. The lessons help the
students gain a better understanding of each other’s cultures and create a
global connection. Students look at factors that impact daily life in each
country, from climate and weather to understanding local geography. They also
learn about how cocoa connects their respective local economies.
The students in Ghana live in one of the highest cocoa-producing regions in
the world. Together, the students will learn how their countries partner to
take cocoa from pod to a finished product. The Ghanaian students will share
information about cocoa farming and learn how cocoa, the key ingredient to
chocolate, is grown and where it originates.
The U.S. students and teachers, who live in the same town where some of the
world’s most famous chocolate products are made, will share information about
how the cocoa grown in Ghana becomes delicious chocolate products. The
students in Ghana will get to taste chocolate bars made in Hershey, Pa., with
many trying chocolate for the first time.
Each of the distance learning sessions incorporates a cultural exchange
activity, an interactive lesson which ties into the curriculum and a “Q&A”
session between the students. This distance learning program is part of The
Hershey Company’s multiple initiatives to reinforce cocoa sustainability and
accelerate farmer and family development in West Africa, where 70 percent of
the world’s cocoa is grown. The program was made possible through a unique
public/private partnership between The Hershey Company, Cisco Systems, Milton
Hershey School, The Hershey Story Museum and Source Trust.
Source Trust is a non-profit organization focused on sustainable farming
practices which improve the lives of farmers and their families. Earlier this
year, The Hershey Company partnered with Source Trust to create the Hershey
Learn to Grow farmer and family development center in Assin Fosu in Ghana’s
central cocoa region. The distance learning program is now part of the Learn
to Grow program.
Over the next five years, The Hershey Company will expand and accelerate
programs to improve cocoa communities by investing millions of dollars in West
Africa and continuing to work with experts in agriculture, community
development and government to drive long-term change in cocoa villages where
families will benefit from the investments in education, health and economic
opportunities. Earlier this year, Hershey announced a $10 million commitment
to accelerate its programs in West Africa. In addition, Hershey recently
committed to third-party certification by 2020 for 100 percent of the cocoa
used for all of its chocolate products.
For more information about Hershey's cocoa sustainability programs in West
Africa, please see: www.HersheyCocoaSustainability.com.
[U.S. media note: Contact Sara Ensminger at SEnsminger@MSHersheyFoundation.org
for information about attending a distance learning session at The Hershey
Story Museum on November 27]
About The Hershey Company
The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) is the largest producer of quality chocolate
in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery.
Headquartered in Hershey, Pa., The Hershey Company has operations throughout
the world and approximately 14,000 employees. With revenues of more than $6
billion, Hershey offers confectionery products under more than 80 brand names,
including such iconic brands as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses,
Hershey's Bliss, Hershey's Special Dark, Kit Kat, Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher and
Ice Breakers. Hershey also offers premium and artisan chocolate products under
such brands as Scharffen Berger and Dagoba through the Artisan Confections
Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. The company is focused on growing its
presence in key international markets such as China and Mexico while
continuing to build its competitive advantage in the United States and Canada.
For more than 100 years, The Hershey Company has been a leader in making a
positive difference in the communities where its employees live, work and do
business. Corporate Social Responsibility is an integral part of the company’s
global business strategy, which includes goals and priorities focused on fair
and ethical business dealings, environmental stewardship, fostering a
desirable workplace for employees, and positively impacting society and local
communities. Milton Hershey School, established in 1909 by the company's
founder and administered by Hershey Trust Company, provides a quality
education, housing, and medical care at no cost to children in social and
financial need. Students of Milton Hershey School are direct beneficiaries of
The Hershey Company's success.
The Hershey Company
Jeff Beckman, 717-534-8090
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