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Penguins at the Hmong National Development Conference

posted Jul 5, 2017, 6:54 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Jul 5, 2017, 6:55 PM ]

The month of April is a busy one at any school in Minnesota, as most schools are deep into having students take standardized tests. The Asian Penguins, however, added one more thing to their plate. A team of Penguins traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to speak at the 17th Hmong National Development Conference.

This team was headed up by Stu Keroff, who was joined by student speakers Luther, Coreti, Monolisa, and Maximus. Each students spoke about a different aspect of the Asian Penguins, and each had to apply to be on this team. For all the students except Luther, this was their first speaking engagement with the Asian Penguins. Also a first, we had never done a conference outside of the Twin Cities, so we had to stay in a hotel. The kids loved that part!

Last minute rehearsal before our workshop.

Coreti gives here part of the presentation.

Here's the team after our presentation with Hmong singing star Pagnia Xiong! She was at the conference and performed the night before. She was standing in the hallway outside our conference room before we started and when the kids asked her in to watch, she came. It was a treat meeting her!

Fancy dinner on Saturday night. We had to teach the kids what all of those forks were for!!

3 More Out The Door

posted May 6, 2017, 4:29 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated May 6, 2017, 4:29 PM ]

Hello! In the time that has passed since Parent Teacher Conferences, our school has gone through Spring Break, reading and math interventions, and the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA), our state's annual standardized tests. Because of all of this, Asian Penguins activities were somewhat curtailed. For instance, during MCAs, no club meetings or missions took place.

This does not mean that nothing at all happened, however. We still had a few kids working on software installation and a few families who had transportation came to us to get computers. During this time, we saw another three computers go to school families, which brings our total for the year to 32. Not too shabby!

And we are about to start missions again, so be looking for updates.

Stu Keroff Wins MSU Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award

posted Mar 27, 2017, 5:11 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Mar 27, 2017, 5:13 PM ]

Asian Penguins director Stu Keroff is getting recognized by his alma mater for his work with the Penguins. The Minnesota State University Mankato Alumni Association will hold their annual Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony on April 21, 2017. Stu is the winner of this award in the category of Humanitarian, in honor of the Asian Penguins' effort of recycling used computers with open source software to help needy families.

Here's a link to a Mankato Free Press story about the event:

Parent Teacher Conferences March 2017

posted Mar 17, 2017, 5:54 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Mar 17, 2017, 5:57 PM ]

March at Community School of Excellence means Parent Teacher Conference, where hundreds of families visit the school March 15 and 16 to talk to teachers, catch up with relatives and old friends, and visit The Asian Penguins table outside the Big Gym to get some candy and Hot Cheetos.

Just like last year, the we took referrals from teachers and staff for families who needed computers. We had computers ready to go, so that families who needed one could come down to the Penguin table to get one. At the table, we demonstrated to the family the software we installed, and then the Penguins would help carry the computer to the family's car.

And come they did. We had the biggest day in Asian Penguins history on March 15 by giving away nine computers. We actually ran out of completed machines! The next day, we worked to finish getting a few more computers ready and gave away three more, giving us a total of 12 for conferences and a total of 14 for the week (we gave away two computers at the beginning of the week). This ties our one week record of 14, which was set in March 2016.

The Asian Penguins reached another noteworthy goal on March 15 when we gave away our 100th computer! The lucky boy who got to take that home also got a bunch of balloons. We can count conferences this year as a success.

Here are some snaps:

Getting things set up.

Going over the night's referrals from staff.

Monolisa takes a turn as Tux the Penguin.

This lucky family got computer #100 and a bunch of balloons!

Good night from Community School of Excellence!

Mission #13

posted Mar 14, 2017, 10:41 AM by Asian Penguins

13 turned out to be a lucky number for the Asian Penguins as the completed their thirteenth mission of the year on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. The team was made up of all sixth grade boys: Htwar Reh (leader), Vong (assistant), Henry (interpreter), and Moe Reh (photographer). The team got out to the house and got everything up in running in very short order, and then moved on to giving the family an introduction to Ubuntu Linux software.

Notables here: this was the thirteenth mission of the year, the fifteenth computer given away this year, and computer #95 for the Asian Penguins. Computer #100 could happen this week!

Here are some photos:

The team: Moe Reh, Vong, Henry, Htwar Reh, and Mr. Keroff.

Yes, we still do this in the winter time.

Demonstrating the software.

Back at school. Well done, team!

Mission #12

posted Mar 14, 2017, 8:37 AM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Mar 14, 2017, 8:38 AM ]

On Monday, March 13, 2017, the Asian Penguins continued their quest to close our school's Digital Divide by taking a computer out to a family home. This was mostly a veteran team, made up of eighth graders Luther, Hoxeng, and Chufue, bringing along Kao Jee from sixth grade to round out the team. Mr. Burris was chaperone.

Notables this time around: this was our 12th mission of the year, our 14th computer given away this year, and our 94th computer overall! Hats off to you, kids!

Here are the photos:

The team: Kao Jee, Luther, Chufue, and Hoxeng.

Getting everything connected.

The outlet was under the table!

Showing the mom the software.

Mission accomplished!!

The Linux Club Guide is now LIVE!!

posted Mar 13, 2017, 6:51 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Mar 13, 2017, 6:51 PM ]

Dear readers,

Several months ago when I was at All Things Open in Raleigh, NC, I got the opportunity to tell the story of how the kids and I back in Saint Paul started the Asian Penguins, and in doing so created the concept of a school based Linux club. One question I was asked repeatedly was, "Have you written a guide or template for others to replicate what you have done with the Asian Penguins?"

Well, the truth is had not even thought of it. Before too long, though, I became convinced that it was a needed resource to help other people start their own Linux clubs. It was time to write a guide.

I spent a few months thinking, brainstorming, planning, seeking advice, writing, editing, drinking coffee, writing more, editing more, receiving constructive criticism, and finalizing the end product. That final product is now available.

AND IT IS AVAILABLE FOR FREE!! While I may write a book about all of this at some time in the future, the immediate need was to get this information out to others who want to introduce Linux to schoolkids. The best way I could think of to do this was to create a website. So, here it is! Please read it and tell me what you think.

Let's keep this movement growing and create more open source opportunities for more kids in more places. Let's help more schools that need technology but cannot afford it. And let's help families who are caught in the Digital Divide. The time is NOW!

Thank you so much,

Stu Keroff

New video from MN Association of Charter Schools

posted Mar 10, 2017, 2:07 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Mar 10, 2017, 2:08 PM ]

Back in December, Community School of Excellence, through the work of the Asian Penguins, won the first annual Innovation Award from the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools. The award was in the category of "Increased Learning Opportunities for Pupils".

Well, a few weeks ago, representatives from MACS came back to CSE to visit with the Penguins and to shoot a video about the things they do. Here is that video:


posted Feb 25, 2017, 3:02 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Feb 25, 2017, 5:29 PM ]

We're over halfway into our school year, and the Asian Penguins have encountered some challenges. First, because of changes to the middle school class schedule from last year, we have been struggling to find time during the school day for kids to install and configure software. Also, because of the record number of members (69 at last count), there were more kids than ever before that needed to learn how. And, since we are trying to break last year's record and give away more computers, we need to have more computers finished so we can give them away.

How to solve all of this, you may ask? Hold an Installfest!! On Saturday morning, February 18, 2017, 22 of our Asian Penguins, representing both the JV and Varsity teams, came to Community School of Excellence to make friends, hang out, eat pizza, and install software on as many computers as they could.

It has been a long time since we have had kids come in outside of school hours to work on computers like this, and we have NEVER had as many come as we did that day. It was a little chaotic, but when we were done, we had several laptops and desktops finished and usable, and had also sorted through several more that were beyond use for us. Those will be recycled. Also noteworthy is that the overwhelming majority of kids in attendance were learning to install software for the first time. As a result of this event, we now have an inventory of desktops to give to families and some ready to go laptops to upgrade some failing computers on one of our carts.

Oh, yes, we had pizza, too!

A great cause, a great time, and a great job. Thanks for coming, Penguins!

Mission #11

posted Feb 25, 2017, 2:34 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Feb 25, 2017, 2:35 PM ]

On Friday, February 17, 2017, Mr. Burris started up van to take that week's mission team out on mission #11. The team, made up of Pray Meh (mission leader & interpreter), Monolisa (assistant), and Anna (assistant). We were 1 person short, so Mr. Burris filled in as photographer.

The three girls quickly got things set up and went about showing off the software to the dad of the house, and were quickly back at school. This team was another one made up of all Junior Varsity (grade 6) members, and also was an all girl team. Also notable: this was mission #11 of the year, computer #13 of the year, and computer #93 overall for the club. Here are some photos:

The team: Mr. Burris, Pray Meh, Monolisa, and Anna.

Getting things set up.

Demonstrating the software.

Good job, team!

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