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Kenyan girls get light to study by, thanks to solar panels made by Turlock students

Students at a high school in Nyanza District, Kenya, install a solar panel made by students at Dutcher Middle School in Turlock, CA, with help from physics majors at California State University, Stanislaus. The panel was donated through We Share Solar, a Berkeley-based group that helps improve electricity reliability for schools around the world.
Students at a high school in Nyanza District, Kenya, install a solar panel made by students at Dutcher Middle School in Turlock, CA, with help from physics majors at California State University, Stanislaus. The panel was donated through We Share Solar, a Berkeley-based group that helps improve electricity reliability for schools around the world. Stanislaus State University

Middle school and college students in Turlock made solar panels to supply electricity for a girls school in Kenya.

Physics majors at California State University, Stanislaus, worked with Dutcher Middle School's science club last fall to assemble the small devices.

They went to a high school in Nyanza District, Kenya, that had been getting by on generators, lanterns and flashlights. The gift went over well, judging by thank-you letters back to Turlock.

“I enjoy reading my notes in every subject, and when I am bored, I read novels,” wrote a 14-year-old named Susan.

The project had help from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and from We Share Solar, a Berkeley-based group that sends panels to schools around the world.

The Kenyan school works to lift students from extreme poverty while battling "deeply entrenched gender roles" that lead to forced marriage, early pregnancy and a high rate of HIV/AIDS, according to a news release from Stan State.

Lawmakers recognize nonprofits

Five groups in and near Stanislaus County received Nonprofit of the Year awards at a Sacramento luncheon Wednesday.

Each state legislator can choose a recipient in his or her district for the event, sponsored by the California Association of Nonprofits. They included:

CASA of Monterey County was honored by Sen. Anthony Cannella, whose district reaches into the San Joaquin Valley.

And finally ...

Geri Lewis has been named executive director of the McHenry Museum and Historical Society. Lewis, who has more than 30 years of fund-raising experience, will work in the newly created position with curator Wayne Mathes.

The local-history museum in the former Stanislaus County Library at 14th and I streets. It is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission is free.

Lewis said by email that she would like to increase annual visitors beyond the 8,000 or so currently. She hopes to "let them see what they are a part of and the history that made the Central Valley as great as it is."

Names of Note recognizes individuals and organizations for their achievements and contribution to their communities. Submit items to jholland@modbee.com.

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