Sunday, October 23, 2005

Article in Today's Madison News On La Gloria School (scroll to new post to help locate teachers)

Copyright NBC - 15 News

Local Couple's School Hit By Hurricane Wilma

Paige Lambrecht

Most of us here in Wisconsin have never even heard of Isla Mujeres.
It's a tiny island off the tip of the Yucatan Pennisula, just minutes from Cancun.
But for one Middleton couple, the people of the island and their livelihood mean everything.
And it's all because of the La Gloria English School.
To many people, the school has the potential to lift the entire island out of poverty.
"Isla Mujeres has become a tourist destination and without English, they will not be able to make a living. It used to be a fishing village. That's played out," says Maggie Washa.
She and her husband first vacationed on the island 14 years ago and fell in love with the people but saw a need for a school that would teach English so residents could get jobs in the tourist industry.
With the rest of their retirement savings, they opened the non–profit La Gloria school in February of 2004.
"it seemed like the thing to do and I wanted to do it. I wanted to give back to the island, the people there have been incredibly welcoming."
The Washa's live on Isla Mujeres for half the year and were planning on going there this week.
But hurricane Wilma visited the island instead.
The island has been devastated and so has the school.
So on Sunday, theirplanned fundraiser to get money for teachers and supplies has turned into an attempt to raise money for the inevitable rebuilding and for the displaced residents.
"I just don't think they're going to get the help that they got in the past with Rita and Katrina and the devastation in Pakistan, they're not gonna get the help," says Kate Pichotta, who taught at the school eariler this year.
Washa says she's not sure just how damaged the school is. She hasn't heard from anyone on the island since the hurricane hit.
But supporters say the island needs the school too much to simply shut it down. There's no choice but to rebuild and recover.
If you'd like to contribute to the school, you can go to their website at or you can send a check to:
Associated Bank of Middleton, c/o La Gloria English School
6300 University Avenue
Middleton, WI 53562


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