Partnership Established Among Askinosie Chocolate, Drury University and Boyd Elementary
For Immediate Release: December 4
Executive Director, University Communications
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 4, 2007
— Askinosie Chocolate, Drury University and Boyd Elementary are partnering on a new venture that brings real-world experiences into elementary school classrooms.
The venture, titled The Chocolate University, will involve Boyd Elementary fourth-grade students and Drury education majors in providing cross-disciplinary experiences using the founding principles of Askinosie Chocolate as a guide.
“One attribute that makes Drury special is the strong ties the university has to its community,” said Todd Parnell, interim president of Drury University. “This new collaboration with local entrepreneur Shawn Askinosie and Boyd Elementary in the creation of The Chocolate University further strengthens those ties.
“What a wonderful learning opportunity for Drury’s and Boyd’s students,” he added.
“Our Chocolate University dream would not be possible without the people of Drury University and Boyd Elementary making it a reality,” said Shawn Askinosie, founder and chocolate maker. “There is no way to measure the joy that we get in bringing the art of chocolate-making to the children at Boyd. If we can inspire one child then we have been successful.”
In fact, Chocolate University is Askinosie’s brainchild, and Chocolate University is funded by Askinosie Chocolate tours and donations. “Our little chocolate factory is part of the revitalization of the Commercial Street Historic District, and as such we have a responsibility to participate in the lives of the children who live on this street and in our neighborhood,” he said. Children who live at the Missouri Hotel (Springfield’s largest homeless shelter less than 100 yards from the chocolate factory) attend Boyd Elementary School just a few blocks from it.
“At Boyd Elementary, we are especially excited about the potential of this partnership,” said James Grandon, principal of Boyd Elementary. “It is an excellent example of the principles that connect us with Drury University and the greater community.”
“We believe that relationships and collaboration are essential keys to education at every level and for lifelong learning,” Grandon continued. “How could any school come up with a more motivating unit of study for children than chocolate?”
“Students in Drury’s education classes have developed lesson plans to assist with educational programming for Boyd students covering topics such as entrepreneurship, sustainable practices, fair trade, economics and global engagement,” said Drury instructor Sharon Price.
Drury students are already working with those at Boyd to pair students via e-mail with those living in Mexico where Askinosie’s cacao beans are grown. “We also plan to use maps from Google Earth to show Boyd students where the farmers grow the beans,” explained Price. “This is a terrific lesson in geography.”
This year’s final Chocolate University class will be a day long participatory experience at the Blue Springs, Mo., School of Economics, where students will experience a global-based, hands-on opportunity to develop and market products for a specific country.
Drury University has taken the lead among private universities in the Midwest in truly integrating a liberal arts education with comprehensive professional programs. At Drury, the power of intensive faculty and staff mentoring in small-class settings creates an atmosphere of high academic expectation grounded in a supportive learning community, an ideal combination which produces leaders ready to serve in a global community. For more information, visit www.drury.edu
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