Chicago State University Alum Mozella Brown is headed to the Dominican Republic as
part of a National PTA group to help build a new school.
Read more from reporter Gregory Tejeda:
Mozella Brown is a member of the faculty at Thornton Fractional South High School
who doesn't know much about construction and also doesn't speak much Spanish.
Yet those facts aren't stopping her from being part of a group of 50 people from across
the United States and Canada who will travel to the Dominican Republic early next
year as part of a group put together by the National PTA to help construct a school
building in the Caribbean island nation.
Brown was one of two people selected for the group from among 1,000 delegates who
attended the National PTA convention in Cincinnati earlier this year. The group's
trip is being sponsored by Lifetouch Photography, which is covering the cost of sending
the educators to the Dominican Republica from Jan. 21-28.
"This trip is absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me," said Brown, who
has taught at T.F. South for the past decade overseeing the ICE vocational program
and also teaching website design.
"We're going to actually create a nice school for these students to attend, rather
than just teach a few classes," Brown said.
Lifetouch field talent development Director Jan Haeg said that officials expect the
educators to help in building and painting the first floor of what is expected to
be a two-story school building. "It will be almost ready for students," Haeg said,
in a prepared statement.
Not that Brown will be ignoring her students at T.F. South during her time in the
Part of the program will involve the creation of what is being called a "Google Hangout"
that is meant to allow the educators participating in the trip to keep in contact
with their schools.
She currently is negotiating the specifics involved in conducting some sort of educational
program from the Dominican Republic for T.F. South students.
"The point is for us to communicate with our staffs, our schools and our communities,"
said Brown, who before joining the T.F. South faculty was a teacher at Thornton High
School in Harvey.
And as for Brown's apparent lack of construction or language skills, she said she's
not totally clueless.
Her father, she said, worked in construction all his life. "I used to watch him work.
I can handle a hammer. I know how a screwdriver works," said Brown.
While also admitting she has contemplated trying to sit in on Spanish-language classes
at T.F. South in order to bolster her comprehension.
"I have talked with the Spanish teacher, and she's being very cooperative in trying
to get me ready for this trip," said Brown.