Kenyans and several Fairport residents celebrated a Jan. 11 Mass to honor the opening of a new kindergarten and prekindergarten school for orphans and street children in Kenya.
The school was founded in memory of Hannah Congdon of Fairport and her four friends, Meredith McClure, Bailey Goodman, Sara Monnat and Katie Shirley. The five were killed in a car crash in June 2007.
Nicknamed Hannah’s Hope, the school was officially named St. Hannah’s Kindergarten School; St. Hannah was the mother of the prophet Samuel.
The school — built at Christ the King Parish in Katito, Kenya — was a project of the Fairport-based charity Joining Hearts and Hands, which was started by Church of the Assumption parishioners Joanne and Bill Cala. In an e-mail from Katito to supports of the school, the Calas said the Jan. 11 ceremony and celebration included hundreds of villagers from the town, which is south of Kisumu.
Congdon’s parents, Terry and Marilyn, cut the ribbon and opened the doors of the school’s early childhood center.
"As school officially started last Wednesday, all of the students were present in their bright new uniforms in blue and orange (Hannah’s favorite colors)," Bill Cala, former Fairport Central School District superintendent and former Rochester City School District interim superintendent, said in the e-mail. "They also surprised us with a repertoire of songs that they learned in just three school days."
He said the school building is completed, the latrine facilities are done and the kitchen facilities will be finished shortly. Fundraising will continue so that Joining Hearts and Hands can add other grade levels to the school.