Three classes of fifth-graders at Kingston Intermediate School raised $600 for UNICEF and over $1,000 more for mostly local causes.
Three classes of fifth-graders at Kingston Intermediate School raised $600 for UNICEF and over $1,000 more for mostly local causes.

LOOKING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM: When fifth-graders at Kingston Intermediate School were asked what they would like to change about their school system, they mentioned things like longer recesses or more comfortable desks, said teacher Lisa Rapalje.

But when they saw a PBS series called “Time for School,” which describes seven children in seven countries where life is far tougher than in America, they changed their minds, she said.

“They realized how lucky they were,” she said, “and didn’t want to trade places with anybody.”

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It was part of a fund-raising program at the school that assists various causes, including UNICEF, a United Nations child-advocacy group founded in 1946. Rapalje’s class, and the classes of fellow teachers Barbara Dever  and Mary Beth Sullivan, took part in the organization’s “Trick or Treat for UNICEF,” which has kids asking for donations as they go door to door on Halloween.

This year, the effort of the three fifth-grade classes at Kingston Intermediate raised more than $1,600, with $600 going to UNICEF and the rest to local causes, Rapalje said.

“The kids loved it; every Friday we’d have a little bank in our rooms to separate the coins and they loved organizing the money, tallying it up and seeing how close we got to our goal,” she said, adding that after they hit the amount that would go to UNICEF, “they were elated.”

The students watched a documentary that followed seven children in their day-to-day education, Rapalje said, showing Japan’s system as being aggressive, for example, and India’s, under which girls have a hard time getting equal education.

“The kids realized how different their educational system was,” she said.

After sending $600 to UNICEF, the kids decided how to divide up the rest, she said: $200 went to St. Joseph’s Food Pantry in Kingston; $200 to the Red Cross for the Hurricane Sandy relief effort; $200 to Rays of Hope in Duxbury, which helps build schools in Afghanistan, one of the countries highlighted in the PBS series; $100 to Cradles to Crayons in Boston; $100 to the Jimmy Fund; $100 to Birthday Wishes, which gives parties to homeless children; and $100 to the Ronald McDonald House.

There was about $60 left over, which is going to the Beam of Hope in Kingston, which helps the family of a Kingston student hurt in a car accident this spring, Rapalje said.

“Through their hard work,” she said, “these students were able to reach out to others in need.”

AUTHOR COMING TO DUXBURY: Maryanne O’Hara, author of the novel “Cascade,” will be at the Duxbury Free Library Wednesday for a reading and book signing. The book is also a staff pick of Westwinds Bookshop in Duxbury and is a recommended library book club selection. The event is part of the Night Lights series, a partnership between the library and bookshop to bring evening literary events to town. For free tickets and information, call the library at 781-934-2721, ext. 108, or Westwinds Bookshop at 781-934-2128.

STUDENT ATTENDS D.C. CONFERENCE: Michael Coffey  of Quincy, a junior at Boston College High School, together with seven other students and three faculty members from the school, joined nearly 1,000 attendees recently at the 15th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C. The event was a chance for Coffey and members of the Ignatian family — which consists of Jesuit high schools and universities, parishes, volunteer communities, and other Catholic institutions — to discuss social justice and solidarity.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Nominations are being accepted through Dec. 7 for the Easton Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Outstanding Business Citizen Award and the 2012 Community Service Scholarship for $750. The first recognizes a business person’s support of the Easton community, the second goes to a high-school senior for his or her community service. For information and to download a nomination form or scholarship application, visit www.easton-chamber.com, or call the chamber office at 508-238-2225.

Peter Brown  (inset) was named director of business development at Campanelli Construction of Braintree and is in charge of the company’s East Coast expansion in the New England and New Jersey markets. He has more than 30 years experience in commercial and industrial real estate leasing, sales, management and development.

Stephen J.T. Murphy, partner and principal of acquisitions at Campanelli, has joined the board of directors of the Duxbury-based Crossroads for Kids, which serves youths from Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. Mollie Dunn  of Duxbury was also named to the board at Crossroads for Kids.

Vincent C. Lombardi  (inset) has been named general manager of the Summer Shack Restaurant in Dedham. He has worked for the restaurant chain for eight years, most recently as bar manager for several locations.

South Shore Visiting Nurse Association in Rockland was named to the Top 500 of the 2012 HomeCare Elite, a compilation of the top-performing home health agencies in the country. In its seventh year, the HomeCare Elite identifies the top 25 percent of agencies in the United States and further highlights the top 100 and 500 agencies overall.