Students Raise Money to Build School in Africa

A little inspiration can go a long way… and Cushing is pleased to announce that our students have raised enough money to build a school in Sierra Leone.


It started in 2008 with the Speaker Series sponsored by the Cushing Institute for 21st Century Leadership. Featured speakers were Craig Kielburger, the charismatic founder of Free the Children, and Ishmael Beah, former child soldier in Sierra Leone and now author and humanitarian. Kielburger’s exciting presentation about his Free the Children organization detailed how, with relatively modest amounts of money, he has been able to build schools, improve water and sanitation, and help fund alternative income for thousands of Third World families. His call for a Cushing volunteer to hold a meeting to gauge interest persuaded Caitie Forrest ’11 to hold up her hand. One thing led to another and the Cushing chapter of Free the Children was born.


Meanwhile, one of Cushing’s newest student groups at the time, the 1865 Leadership Society, had sponsored a number of successful fundraising activities and Tyler Griffin ’10 proposed that the Society take on the challenge of raising money for Caitie’s chapter and donate their funds to build a school. As fate would have it, Free the Children operates in Sierra Leone, so as a tribute to Ishmael Beah’s inspiring visit to Cushing, the goal was to collect enough money to build a school there.


Thanks to the hard work of students and the generosity of the Cushing community, $8500 has been raised – enough to make the school in Sierra Leone a reality. Expressing their gratitude, Kielburger and Beah both sent video messages of congratulations that students and faculty viewed together in Cowell Chapel. Headmaster Tracy also presented Forrest and Griffin with the Academy’s “Hero Awards” for their hard work and dedication to the good of others.



Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.