Months of effort and study came to a conclusion on Monday, May 7, when fourth grade students at Sandy Hook School walked under a flag and simulated walking three miles for water.
The walk was originally planned for Friday, May 4, but due to weather it was postponed to Monday.
“We want to know how it feels to walk all that way just to get water,” said fourth grader Will Swift as the entire fourth grade lined up to start the expected one-hour walk.
Next to him, fellow student Attila Sepkim explained he was excited to help students in Africa.
Monday’s walk was the culmination of the fourth grade studying the water crisis, as fourth grade teacher and team leader Carrie Usher explained the week before the walk. After segueing from learning about the water cycle as part of the 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.
All of the funds raised will go to the school in Kenya. The money will help fund education programs along with water filtration systems and more for the Kiplelgutik School.
As Ms Usher explained the fourth grade’s Walk For Water was to help learn about women who have to walk three or more miles a day for water, carrying 30 to 40 pounds while doing so.
Before Monday’s walk, permission slips were sent home and canned goods were collected to be donated to the Social Services Food Pantry, located at Town Hall South. The food items were then packed into bags and carried by students during the walk.
Ryan Beardsley said carrying food items and walking on Monday was helping to solve two problems at once.
The students carried up to ten pounds of donated food items each and wore a sign on their bags to show how much they were carrying as the walk was about to begin.
“I think it is exciting to be here,” said Ali Fernand. Adding later, “It’s just nice to know that we are helping.”
Before the fourth grade teachers addressed the students for the start of the walk, student Sara Snellman said, “I cannot wait to walk three miles for the poor kids in Kenya.”
Fourth grade teacher Liesl Fressola designed special T-shirts for Sandy Hook School staff to wear during the walk. Writing on the back of each light blue shirt read, “443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related illnesses.”
Before the walk began, students were reminded that it was a walk, not a run, for water, and if they felt tired during the walk taking a break was an option.
“We are really excited for our Walk For Water,” said Ms Fressola before the walk began.
A flag from H2O For Life was hung at the entrance to the school’s baseball field to mark where the students would be completing the walk. Popsicles were given to students at the end of the walk, and water was provided from coolers.
A slideshow of photos from Sandy Hook School’s Walk For Water is available with this story at www.newtownbee.com.