Chocolate Ingredients / Ingredients / News / Chocolate

Hershey creates sweet connection between students in U.S., Ghana

Chocolate maker sets up real-time links to create virtual classrooms.

hershey kissThe days when school children handwrote a letter to a peer on the other side of the world sure have evolved.

Hershey has recently launched a modern version of a pen pal program that links kids at a school in its hometown of Hershey, Pa. to children in Ghana. But instead of handwritten letters, the students connect through real-time, high-definition technology that creates a common, virtual classroom.

While the two places may have very different cultures, they share a common bond that will no doubt help the students understand each other — Hershey is the largest U.S. chocolate maker, while Ghana is a world leader in cocoa production.

The Hershey Learn to Grow: Ghana Distance Learning Program allows about 80 elementary students to learn together based on a curriculum developed by teachers in Hershey and Ghana.

It’s the first-of-its-kind and was developed in collaboration with the Milton Hershey School, the M.S. Hershey Foundation and Hershey Story Museum, Cisco, as well as African partners that include the Assin Fosu school, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Cocoa Board and Source Trust.

“We are thrilled by how well our students have responded to this new way of learning about Ghana and seeing links between cocoa growing and chocolate making,” says Joel Crowley, fourth grade teacher at the Milton Hershey School. “Everyone in Hershey has been inspired by the passion the children and teachers in Ghana have for learning together through this powerful technology.”

Meanwhile, Eric Gyeke, headmaster of the FOSCO Demonstration School in Ghana, says the children in their classroom are delighted by the relationships they’re forming with the students at the Milton Hershey School

“In Ghana, we are focused on bringing the highest quality education to our rural schools and believe this technology-based programming is a major step forward,” he explains.

The connection is made possible by high-definition telepresence video technology from Cisco.

During each session, 11- and 12-year-old students in Assin Fosu, Ghana — a rural town in the Central Region — participate in a life-like virtual classroom program with fourth-grade students at the Milton Hershey School (MHS) in Hershey, Pa.

The MHS students connect to Ghana from The Hershey Story Museum’s Chocolate Lab located in downtown Hershey, Pa. Teachers from both schools, in addition to educators from the museum, lead the sessions together, following the same curriculum and lesson plans.

Based on the early success of the Hershey’s Learn to Grow: Ghana Distance Learning program, the partners have decided to extend the program — originally slated for 10 modules over two months — through the full academic year and explore opportunities to further expand the program.

“At Milton Hershey School, we try to emphasize to our students that they are a very important part of a bigger community, and this program takes it one step further,” says Anthony Colistra, MHS president.

Students from both countries connect every two weeks and go through six structured lesson plans over the course of three months. They look at factors that impact daily life in each country — from climate and weather to understanding local geography — and also learn about how cocoa connects their respective local economies.

The Ghanaian students will share information about cocoa farming and learn how cocoa, the key ingredient to chocolate, is grown and where it originates.

Meanwhile, the U.S. students and teachers, will share information about how the cocoa grown in Ghana becomes delicious chocolate products.

And of course, the students in Ghana will get to taste chocolate bars made in Hershey, Pa., with many trying chocolate for the first time.

Each of the distance learning sessions incorporates a cultural exchange activity, an interactive lesson which ties into the curriculum and a “Q&A” session between the students.

This distance learning program is part of The Hershey Co.’s multiple initiatives to reinforce cocoa sustainability and accelerate farmer and family development in West Africa, where 70% of the world’s cocoa is grown.

Hershey also recently committed to having third-party certification for 100% of the cocoa it uses for all of its chocolate products by 2020.

For more information about Hershey's cocoa sustainability programs in West Africa, visit:

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Candy Industry

Recent Articles by Crystal Lindell

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

A Venetian Carnival, a Jelly Belly sculpture and gourmet chocolates! Oh my!

Candy Industry takes you into the French Pastry’s School For the Love of Chocolate event in Chicago, held Feb. 25.

Candy Industry Magazine

candy may 2015

May 2015

Check out the May issue, featuring products from Sweets & Snacks Expo, how Enstrom's rebranding looks promising, and more!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Healthier Food Options

A recent Nielsen report shows that consumers are calling for healthier options from food manufacturers. Do you think consumers will actually buy healthier versions of their favorite candy and snacks if they’re made available?
View Results Poll Archive

Candy Industry Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\Candy Industry\natural-food-flavors-colora.gif
Natural Food Flavors and Colorants

Although many foods are appealing, and even perceived as natural, in spite of containing synthetic additives, consumer increasingly prefer food products which are fully natural.

More Products

Candy Industry's Kettle Awards

Kettle Awards

Since 1946, Candy Industry magazine has recognized leaders in the U.S. confectionery industry with the highest recognition possible, the Kettle Award. The distinguished recipients have captured this most coveted award by not only excelling within their companies, but by contributing to the greater good of the industry. It’s virtually a who’s who of past and present professionals who have left their mark as confectioners and business mavens. Learn more about the voting process as well as the annual Kettle Awards Ceremony by visiting our Kettle Awards Website


fb40   twitter 40    youtube40    linked   Google+

Clear Seas Research

Clear SeasWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.