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Kenyan Scholars Inspire During Visit to CPP
On April 8th, Cal Poly Pomona was privileged to welcome two passionate and inspiring teachers from Muguna village in Western Kenya as visiting scholars. These teachers would spend three weeks visiting and learning from educators in and around Cal Poly Pomona while also experiencing life outside of Kenya for the first time.
Ruth Apondi, a first grade teacher, and Josiah Odundo, an upper grades teacher, have dedicated their careers to improving Muguna Primary School. It is a K-8 school, where it is common to find 70 students in one classroom. As part of a rural and underserved community facing social, health, and environmental issues, Muguna Primary has become a place where Ruth and Josiah dedicate themselves to invest in their students to value learning so that they can build better lives and have hope for the future.
During their three weeks as visiting scholars, Ruth and Josiah had once-in-a-lifetime experiences, ranging from flying in a plane for the first time to dipping their toes in the Pacific Ocean. They also had opportunities to observe university classes and participate in various activities within the Corona-Norco Unified School District, Walnut Valley Unified School District, and the Los Angeles County Department of Education. At numerous community events, they shared about their experiences at Muguna Primary, the many challenges their students face, and their efforts to improve the school.
At an International Scholar Roundtable event hosted by the International Center on April 25th, the day before they returned home, they also shared personal stories of how they became teachers, the inequities in education between Kenya and California, and the various lessons they learned that they plan to bring back with them to Muguna Primary.
Their experience would not have been possible without the combined support of Dedicated to Learning and Friends of Yimbo, who support education programs in Yimbo, Kenya. Due to the generosity from Cal Poly Pomona, local school districts, and numerous donors, Ruth and Josiah are returning to Kenya with scholarships, sports equipment, and school supplies for their students. Most importantly, they are determined to have a growth mindset, which they hope to cultivate at Muguna Primary and that will help them become better role models.