Chicago State University


CSU Alum to Help Construct New School in Dominican Republic

Chicago State University Alum Mozella Brown is headed to the Dominican Republic as part of a National PTA group to help build a new school.

Read more from reporter Gregory Tejeda:

Mozella Brown is a member of the faculty at Thornton Fractional South High School who doesn't know much about construction and also doesn't speak much Spanish.

Yet those facts aren't stopping her from being part of a group of 50 people from across the United States and Canada who will travel to the Dominican Republic early next year as part of a group put together by the National PTA to help construct a school building in the Caribbean island nation.

Brown was one of two people selected for the group from among 1,000 delegates who attended the National PTA convention in Cincinnati earlier this year. The group's trip is being sponsored by Lifetouch Photography, which is covering the cost of sending the educators to the Dominican Republica from Jan. 21-28.

"This trip is absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me," said Brown, who has taught at T.F. South for the past decade overseeing the ICE vocational program and also teaching website design.

"We're going to actually create a nice school for these students to attend, rather than just teach a few classes," Brown said.

Lifetouch field talent development Director Jan Haeg said that officials expect the educators to help in building and painting the first floor of what is expected to be a two-story school building. "It will be almost ready for students," Haeg said, in a prepared statement.

Not that Brown will be ignoring her students at T.F. South during her time in the Dominican Republic.

Part of the program will involve the creation of what is being called a "Google Hangout" that is meant to allow the educators participating in the trip to keep in contact with their schools.

She currently is negotiating the specifics involved in conducting some sort of educational program from the Dominican Republic for T.F. South students.

"The point is for us to communicate with our staffs, our schools and our communities," said Brown, who before joining the T.F. South faculty was a teacher at Thornton High School in Harvey.

And as for Brown's apparent lack of construction or language skills, she said she's not totally clueless.

Her father, she said, worked in construction all his life. "I used to watch him work. I can handle a hammer. I know how a screwdriver works," said Brown.

While also admitting she has contemplated trying to sit in on Spanish-language classes at T.F. South in order to bolster her comprehension.

"I have talked with the Spanish teacher, and she's being very cooperative in trying to get me ready for this trip," said Brown.