By: Mary Sue Faherty, Literacy Coach, St. Mary of the Hills School
This year, St. Mary of the Hills School is conducting an all school read of, “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park. This amazing true story shows the struggle of a young man growing up in a war-torn South Sudan in the late 1980’s. It also follows a young girl’s journey in 2009 as she walks eight hours a day in search of water so that she and her family can survive. The water she collects every day is muddy and bacteria ridden, which leads to many diseases and even death. As the book unfolds, we begin to understand how a simple water well in one village could positively transform the lives of thousands. Unfortunately, South Sudan is still one of the world’s least developed countries and is currently experiencing a civil war with mass atrocities, coupled with a severe drought and famine. There are many innocent people living there who desperately need help.
Our school wide theme this year is one of service. In connection with this theme and the main message from our all school read, we are participating in the “Iron Giraffe Challenge”. This challenge is part of the Water for South Sudan initiative and a direct challenge from the young man from the book, Salva Dut. Our hope is to raise $3000.00 to restore a well in South Sudan. The students are bringing in loose change to fill gallon water bottles in their classrooms, and we are also going to have a walk to raise funds. The junior high students will obtain sponsors for each lap they walk with a gallon bottle of water on their heads. The younger students will walk with a twelve- or sixteen-ounce bottle on their heads. Families and friends can also donate to our webpage: https://www.classy.org/team/190922?is_new=true. We are very excited about our fundraising efforts and the theme of service that our students will be putting into action through this endeavor.