BOW, N.H. - New Hampshire National Guard members collected 33 boxes of donated books from Bow High School Jan. 17 to deliver as early as next month to Pedro Gomes High School in Cabo Verde.
“They wanted to expand their English library,” said Bow social studies teacher Derek DeAngelis. “Everything from encyclopedias to Stephen King is in there.”
The West African island nation became the NHNG’s second State Partnership Program partner two years ago, joining El Salvador, a model partner in the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau program since 2000.
Through the state partnership, Bow has made similar contributions to a school in San Jose Villanueva, El Salvador. In 2010, they hosted a teacher exchange.
“Bow has been a fantastic partner over the years by networking with schools in both El Salvador and Cabo Verde,” said Maj. Mario Rey, NHNG’s State Partnership Program director.
The budding exchange program has the full support of Marcy Kelley, Bow’s superintendent. She was on hand as teachers, students and Soldiers packed books into a cargo van.
“I think it’s a pretty amazing opportunity to have this connection with people so far across the world and to share what we’re doing, to share our resources where we can and make our kids feel like they’re involved,” Kelley said.
Rey also oversees donations earmarked for public safety, military and medical personnel in both partner nations. In the past year, the NHNG has facilitated the shipment of personal protective equipment, firefighter clothing and body armor.
“Whether it’s military-to-military or civilian-to-civilian opportunities, we’re constantly exploring ways to collaborate and grow together,” Rey said.
Although collaboration between Bow and Cabo Verde has been limited to videoconferences and written letters, educators are hopeful for future in-person visits.
“We want to have an educational exchange, and one of the best ways for students to learn is to travel,” DeAngelis said. “It’s one of the biggest ways to open your mind.”
Until then, Bow teachers and students are grateful for the growing bond with their new sister school, a seven-hour flight across the Atlantic.
“We could never do this without the assistance of the Guard,” DeAngelis said.