The Promise of a Pencil


The students in the new DMAE Pencils of Promise club made a promise to millions of students in Laos, Ghana, Guatemala and Nicaragua; to raise and donate money to help build schools. By using their education, these DMAE students will help spread education.

“ Education is what can get you ahead in the world,” Co-president Ruchita Choksey said. “If you could raise the students of these underdeveloped countries to get to the level of other countries, they can contribute and everyone could move ahead at the same time. Education is the basis of everything,” she explained.

The Pencils of Promise organization was founded on October 2008, and focuses on bringing quality education to all children. Co-president Gabriela Tactuk explained that the organization creates schools in underdeveloped countries, brings teachers in, and provides these schools with learning tools, such as E-Readers or typical school supplies that are lacking in these countries. Ruchita and Gabriela, both sophomores, were determined to start a club since their freshman year. They settled on  Pencils of Promise because they wanted to introduce a new and different concept for a club.

“There is no club specifically for education,” Ruchita said. “Americans don’t really think of the effect that education really has on people who don’t have it.”

The DMAE Pencils of Promise club differs from other such clubs in other ways as well. Ruchita explained that Pencils of Promise focuses on only four countries to be able to “give that one area all it needs,” rather than trying to help all third-world countries.

Sophomore Tomomi Shore thinks the effect of Pencils of Promise sets it apart from other clubs dedicated to helping others.

“Pencils of Promise doesn’t just give money or food to people in need, but they also coach teachers on how to teach their students well with the lack of classroom materials,” Tomomi said. “The organization has a more long term effect, so people can sustain themselves for much longer after the donation than just get food and once and then starve later,” she added.

Advisor Kristin Piccinich described Ruchita and Gabriela as “passionate” and “professional” when they approached her with the idea for Pencils of Promise.

“The students run the meetings themselves,” Ms. Piccinich said. “They come up with the ideas of what they want to do and how they want to raise money.  They’re all friends and get along well but when it comes down to when they need to decide things and get things done, they are able to take charge.”

Gabriela and Ruchita set a high goal for their first year to raise $1000. To date, the club raised more than half of that. Gabriela and Ruchita attribute this success to bake sales and donations.

“We raised the money through bake sales. We didn’t think the bake sales would be a productive fundraiser,” Ruchita said. “But in fact we raised more than $20 each time. This added up and  along with that we had donations because on the weekends, club members would go out and ask some businesses to donate.”

Ruchita and Gabby continue to strive to raise $1000, and have plans for a school event in the second next semester to ultimately be able to fulfill their promise and build a school.