Hot News

Welcome back to CSE, Amy Brendmoen!

posted Oct 9, 2018, 5:23 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Oct 9, 2018, 5:25 PM ]

Saint Paul City Councilwoman Amy Brendmoen has long been a supporter of the Asian Penguins, and last Friday, October 5, she returned to CSE to visit with the kids during their Friday meeting. She shared with the kids a little bit of her history on the City Council and answered a LOT of their questions. One thing is for sure, Amy loves the work the kids are doing with Linux and closing the Digital Divide.

Thanks for coming, Amy. You are welcome back anytime!

Again, thanks for coming!

Asian Penguins at the Hmong Resource Fair

posted Oct 8, 2018, 2:05 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Oct 8, 2018, 2:05 PM ]

Fall in Saint Paul can mean a lot of things: changing colors of leaves, Halloween, and of course, the Hmong Resource Fair. This annual event brings together dozens of various social and educational organizations that provide resources, help, and assistance to the Hmong community. For several years, the Asian Penguins have taken part in the event, sharing with folks our work in using Linux and providing computers for the needy.

Well, this year we were back and doing it again! In addition to talking about our work, we were also making sure attendees of the event had a chance to buy candy, Kool Aid, and Hot Cheetos and Takis. The money raised at this event will go toward getting more computers to help more families.

Mission 10-05-18

posted Oct 5, 2018, 5:09 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Oct 5, 2018, 5:14 PM ]

The Asian Penguins have hit the ground running by going out on their first Penguin Mission of the year, delivering a computer to a Saint Paul Hmong family home. The team was made up of Hsa (leader), Tao (interpreter), and Hmoov (photographer). While this was first mission for Hmoov, Hsa and Tao are both mission veterans, having done trips last year. Also notable about this mission is that Hsa is the first Karen student to lead a Penguin Mission.

It didn't take long for the boys to get the computer set up for the family, whose daughter is in elementary school at Community School of Excellence. Once they had everything connected together, it was time to show the mom what kind of software her student was getting. While we have a standard set of apps that we install on each computer we give away, this was the first computer we have given that has Ubuntu 18.04 as its OS. Until now, we have used 16.04. At any rate, mom is delighted and her daughter now has a compute to use for IXL, Google Classroom, or whatever else she needs! Here's a couple of photos:

Well done, Penguins.

2017-2018 Recap

posted Sep 2, 2018, 10:24 AM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Sep 4, 2018, 11:33 AM ]

We were a little light in the "Hot News" section during the last school year, but that does not mean that the Asian Penguins were taking time off. Far from it! Here are a few of the highlights from last year:
  • We started using the FLOSS Desktops for Kids curriculum from the Open Source Initiative. The FLOSS Desktops for Kids founder Patrick Masson counts the Asian Penguins as one of the inspirations for creating this curriculum, which is designed to teach kids about Linux and open source software. We were pretty excited when he told us that, so it was a no-brainer for us to adopt it. We will continue using it in the coming year.

    For more information about a really GREAT program that we cannot recommend highly enough, please go to FLOSS Desktops for Kids.

  • We set a new record in computers given away in one year. From July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 the Asian Penguins gave away 68 computers. Most of these went to the families of our students, but we also sent six to our sister school in Thailand. At the time, they had 45 students and NO computers. Our gift went over VERY well!

  • A blogger called The Linux Gamer put out a challenge in November called "Why I Use Linux Day", on which individuals or groups were invited to upload their own videos or posts to the web explaining why they use Linux. We thought that sounded cool, so we made and uploaded a video of our own:

    Our video has gotten over 1,000 views, so not too shabby!

  • For the first time, we elected an officers' board that was majority girls. While our club President was a boy (Evon), all of the other officers were girls: Vice President Elizabeth, Secretary Nari, and Treasurer Cailley. Also noteworthy, Elizabeth was the first Karenni student to be elected as an Asian Penguins officer.

  • As has become our tradition, the Asian Penguins marched in the Rice Street Parade. The dance team does the dancing, and the Penguins hand out the candy to the kids:

  • The Asian Penguins took part in TIES conferences not once, but twice. We took part in "The Playground", which is an exposition for student technology programs, at both the TIES Educational Technology Conference in December and at the TIES Institute in July.

  • The Asian Penguins continued our community outreach by presenting a computer to the Teen Zone at the Rice Street Recreation Center in May. The Teen Zone is a drop in homework and hang out center for high school students in the St. Paul area. At the time we arrived, the didn't have a working computer for students to use. The did when we left that day!

There's always more to say, but put simply, the seventh year of the Asian Penguins was a good one, indeed.

Now, onto YEAR EIGHT!!

New Officers Elected

posted Nov 7, 2017, 9:23 AM by Asian Penguins

With the start of any new school year, we also bring a change in leadership for the Asian Penguins. Elections were held on November 2, and here are the results:

President Evon, Vice President Elizabeth, Treasurer Cailley, and Secretary Nari.

A few things are notable about this year's Officers' Board. First, this is the first time in Asian Penguins history that the majority of our leadership are girls. Second, Vice President Elizabeth is the first Karenni student elected to leadership in the Asian Penguins.

We are very proud of these students, and are confident that they will lead the club well. Congratulations, kids!

A Couple of New Year Announcements

posted Oct 22, 2017, 12:13 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Oct 22, 2017, 12:14 PM ]

Dear friends,

Today, I want to make a couple of announcements about the Asian Penguins. First, this year the Asian Penguins are moving to after school. We resisted this move for several years, but this year we decided the time was right to make the change. By moving to after school, we will be allotted more time for our activities. Since we will now have an hour every week, rather than less than 20 minutes every week, we are adopting the FLOSS Desktops for Kids curriculum from the Open Source Initiative. We also hope to educate students in preparation for the Linux Essentials exam, so that our kids can earn the Linux Essentials certificate before they go off to high school. We're excited about the new ideas.

The other announcement is that we have ended Operation Elementary. It's not that our elementary students have stopped needing computers. It's that our school's leadership has launched a new initiative to get Chromebooks for our classes at school. This very recent change will provide more computers than we could have hoped for with our campaign, and we are looking forward to the new machines arriving. As for the $360.00 we raised through Operation Elementary, that money will be funneled into the community donation program of the Asian Penguins. That way, more needy students will get computers in their homes.

That's it for now. We look forward to a great year.


Stu Keroff
Asian Penguins Director

Minnesota eLearning Summit

posted Aug 6, 2017, 1:03 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Aug 6, 2017, 2:59 PM ]

Thursday, August 3, 2017 went down as a momentous day for the Asian Penguins for a couple of reasons. First, four of the Penguins (Luther, Hoxeng, Chufue, and Anita) attended the Minnesota eLearning Summit with their teacher Mr. Stu Keroff. 

The group attended a couple of presentations from other teachers, but the big deal was that they were there to do some teaching themselves. The Penguins led their own workshop entitled "Use Open Source to Impact Your School: The Asian Penguins". There, they told the story about how Community School of Excellence was transformed by the Asian Penguins bringing Linux into our classrooms and our students' homes. Videos to come soon.

But even bigger than that was that the Asian Penguins were also on hand to accept an award. The Minnesota eLearning Summit presents an annual Excellence Award to recognize achievements in educational technology. In the category of Impact, the Asian Penguins were this year's winner!

Here's a snap from the awards ceremony:

Operation Elementary

posted Aug 6, 2017, 12:02 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Aug 6, 2017, 12:13 PM ]

Dear readers,

Another school year is about to begin, and the Asian Penguins have launched a new crowdfunding campaign. Titled Operation Elementary, the campaign is to get two more laptop carts (complete with laptops) for our elementary classes.

Our elementary students are being asked to do more digital learning than ever before, and we just do not have enough computers to go around. This campaign will help alleviate that situation.

Our goal is $10,000. What do we need? Your help, of course! To make a donation, go to:

Rice Street Parade

posted Aug 6, 2017, 11:49 AM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Aug 6, 2017, 11:49 AM ]

On July 30, 2017, a few of the Asian Penguins took part in what has become an annual tradition for them: they marched in the Rice Street Parade.

The Rice Street Festival is our neighborhood's annual community celebration, and the parade is one event during the festivities. Community School of Excellence models its civic pride each year by having an entry in the parade. The CSE Dancers are the main part of our entry, dancing and doing cartwheels for the 1.7 miles of the parade route. While the Asian Penguins don't do that kind of thing as a group (although a few of our members are on the dance team), we march along after the dancers to give our candy to the kids along the sidewalks. A good time was had by all.

The Crew before the parade.

End of School Year Report

posted Jul 25, 2017, 5:14 PM by Asian Penguins   [ updated Jul 25, 2017, 5:21 PM ]

The 2016-2017 school year saw some big things happen for the Asian Penguins. We had so many members this year it necessitated the formation of separate Junior Varsity and Varsity teams to meet the demand. In the end, we had 67 members, a new record!

Like in previous years, we sent teams to lead workshops and speak at conferences. The first was the Minnesota Educators' Academy (MEA) Conference in October 2016 in Saint Paul. The second was the Hmong National Development Conference in April 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This was the first time we have taken a team of speakers to another state on an overnight trip. In addition to these, Asian Penguins Director Stu Keroff traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina in October to speak about the Asian Penguins at the All Things Open conference.

Our school's eighth graders completed a community project in order to perform service learning for others, and several teams of students came under the umbrella of the Asian Penguins for their projects. One team spoke to fifth grade classes about the Asian Penguins, one group mentored students on how to install software, two groups actually refurbished computers to give to families, one raised money for the Penguins, and one refurbished laptops to send to our sister school in Thailand. The laptops they worked on were delivered to our sister school by the students of the Global Connection team when they traveled to Thailand in June.

In addition to giving computers away on missions, we also gave them to families who came to the school to pick them up. When the final tally was done, we had given away 48 computers this year, breaking last year's record of 47!

Hats off to all of the kids of the Asian Penguins for a very successful year!

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