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Fourth Graders Work To Spread Knowledge On World Water Crisis



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Fourth Graders Work To Spread Knowledge

On World Water Crisis

By Eliza Hallabeck

Sandy Hook School fourth graders were one group of many at Newtown’s Fifth Annual Earth Day Festival, and the students have been prepared for their booth for a while.

“This began at the beginning of the year,” said Sandy Hook School fourth grade teacher and fourth grade team leader Carrie Usher. “We started to do a unit on the water crisis.”

After segueing from learning about the water cycle as a science curriculum, Ms Usher said the students then learned about the water crisis.

The fourth grade then joined in a partnership with the Kiplelgutik School in Kenya through the H2O For Life nonprofit organization, which provides opportunities for youths to partner with schools in developing countries where water, sanitation, and hygiene education are in need, according to the organization.

According to H2O For Life’s website, www.H2Oforlifeschools.org, nearly one billion people live without access to clean water, and more than two billion live without access to sanitation facilities.

At Sandy Hook School, Ms Usher said the students also learned about drought.

“They really want to make the world aware,” said Ms Usher. “Newtown citizens now, since we really want to do this on Earth Day.”

PowerPoint presentations and film footage were shown on Saturday at the fourth grade’s booth during Newtown’s Fifth Annual Earth Day Festival. Wrist bands that say “Water is Life” were also sold during the event in exchange for a donation of any amount.

 All of the funds raised will go to the school in Kiplelgutik. The money will help fund education programs along with water filtration systems and more.

Ms Usher said the students are hoping to raise as much money as possible, with a goal of $5,000. Wrist bands that were not sold during the Earth Day Festival will be sold at the school.

Finally, this Friday, May 4, the students will Walk For Water around the school’s soccer field.

“This is to learn about the women that have to walk sometimes three or more miles a day,” said Ms Usher, “while carrying 30 to 40 pounds of water.” said Ms Usher. “It’s a long walk for water, and sometimes that water isn’t event clean,” she added.

To five the students feel for the women, each student, with parent permission, will walk with canned goods of food weighing up to 10 pounds during the event. Afterward, the food will be donated to the Social Services Food Pantry, located at Town Hall South.

“They have taken this to heart,” said Ms Usher about the students.

Students have looked into how much water is consumed at their homes, and created flyers posted around the school to raise awareness.

Water bottles are no longer used in Ms Usher’s classroom, and if they are, they are refilled.

“They are just very aware,” Ms Usher said, “and they are making their families aware. It is great, because they are the future.”

While this is the first year the Sandy Hook School fourth grade students have learned about the water crisis, Ms Usher said she expects it to become a yearly endeavor.

Not only have the students learned about what they can do to help others in need of water, Ms Usher said, they have also discussed the situation from the perspective of politicians and others while trying to discover solutions.

“It is incredible, because they are learning how to do this in school,” said Ms Usher. “And hopefully it will mirror what they can do in life.”

The project, Ms Usher said, was funded through a grant from the MetLife Foundation. Hopes for the project include linking up with a sister school in Liaocheng, China, to raise money, and getting Newtown High School students involved with creating T-shirts.

After participating on Saturday, Ms Usher said, “We felt that it went really well. The students loved it!”

The booth raised $563.63 to give to the school in Kiplelgutik. Since participating in the Earth Day Festival, Ms Usher said a staff collection envelope has been set up in the school’s office, and a letter was sent home to parents announcing the further sales of the wrist bands.

“We will be collecting for the next two weeks,” said Ms Usher.

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