Hershey Continues Innovative Distance Learning Program Connecting U.S. and Rural Ghanaian School Chi

Hershey Continues Innovative Distance Learning Program Connecting U.S. and Rural Ghanaian School Children

HERSHEY, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Hershey Company (NYS: HSY) :

  • Social studies class at Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania shares cultural experiences with students in Assin Fosu, Ghana

  • The first-of-its-kind program was developed by Hershey in partnership with Source Trust and Milton Hershey School

The Hershey Company (NYS: HSY) today announced that it will continue through the end of the 2013 school year its successful Hershey Learn to GrowGhana Distance Learning Program, a unique distance learning program launched last fall. The program links school children in Hershey, Pa., and Ghana through real-time, high-definition technology that creates a common, virtual classroom experience.

The program allows approximately 80 middle school students in classrooms on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to connect and share cultural experiences. The Milton Hershey School students connect to the students in Assin Fosu, Ghana, a rural town located in the Central Region, from The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue in downtown Hershey, Pa.

This semester, teachers are encouraging the students in Hershey, Pa., and Assin Fosu, Ghana, to research selected topics of interest, plan how to engage in the topic and then lead parts of the actual live classroom sessions.

"We are excited about this new approach, which is less teacher-driven and will allow the children to lead the sessions, directly engage with each other and truly share the best of their cultures," said David Bruce, sixth-grade social studies teacher at Milton Hershey School. "We believe this new approach will be more meaningful and provide a deeper understanding for the students of what it's like to live in each country."

During the spring semester, students will cover a range of topics that will enable them to explore each other's culture and country's practices. For example, one session covers "festivals" and looks at how and why each country celebrates important cultural events or special occasions. In another session, students in Ghana plan to talk about how children are named in their country and the cultural significance of different names.

During the sessions, students in each country will also share individual talents, such as singing or dancing, and students will have a question and answer segment to delve into what it is like to live in their respective countries.

The Hershey Learn to Grow Ghana Distance Learning Program is a first-of-its-kind live distance-learning program for primary-age students. It was developed in collaboration with Milton Hershey School, the M.S. Hershey Foundation and The Hershey Story museum, Cisco, and African partners that include the Assin Fosu school, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Cocoa Board and Source Trust. Hershey is the largest U.S. chocolate maker and Ghana is a world leader in cocoa production.

The program was originally slated for eight modules over two months in October and November of 2012. Based on the success of the distance learning program last fall, the partners decided to extend the program through the full academic year and are exploring opportunities to further expand the program. The program was made possible through a unique public/private partnership among The Hershey Company, Cisco Systems, Milton Hershey School, The Hershey Story museum and Source Trust.

"We are delighted to be a part of a program that is engaging children across borders to learn from each other collaboratively," said Nicko Debenham, Director, Development & Sustainability at Source Trust. "We think the benefits will be felt in both the U.S. and Ghana."

The Ghana Distance Learning Program is one component of a comprehensive set of programs implemented by The Hershey Company to engage with cocoa communities, accelerate farmer and family development, improve the lives of cocoa families, and reinforce cocoa sustainability in West Africa, where 70 percent of the world's cocoa is grown. 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. In October 2012, Hershey announced its commitment to use 100 percent third-party certified cocoa by 2020 for all of its chocolate products sold around the world.

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 in March or April]

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company (NYS: 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 $6.6 billion, Hershey offers confectionery products under more than 80 brand names, including such iconic brands as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey'sKisses, Hershey'sBliss, Hershey's Special Dark, Kit Kat, Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers. The company is focused on growing its presence in key international markets such as China, Mexico and Brazil 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 funded by a trust 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

KEYWORDS: United States North America Ghana Africa Pennsylvania


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