Students at Sappington Elementary School learned what it is like to walk in the shoes of boys and girls in Africa during a year-long service project that raised enough money to build a well for an African community in need of water.
Each year, Sappington students research possible service learning projects and present their ideas to teachers. This year’s Water Project incorporated learning activities through music, physical education and other subject areas. For example, all students participated in a walk-a-thon where they walked two miles around the school field to experience how far Africans must walk every day to find water.
“I thought it was hard to do because I began to feel dehydrated and tired,” said Kate, a fourth-grader. “I feel really bad for the people in Africa because I only walked half of what they have to walk, and they have to carry buckets of water back.”
“I felt proud to help Africa and to walk as far as I did,” said first-grader Sam.
Students also walked the entire distance to Africa over the course of a year in physical education class, to better understand how far away they are from the people they are helping, and second- and fifth-grade students put on a music program for parents to share what they had learned. Students schoolwide engaged and educated their local community as well, by distributing water bottles to collect change at Lindbergh schools and their parents’ businesses.
“They learned that there are lots of things wrong with our world, but that they can begin to fix them,” said Jennifer Zelle, fourth-grade teacher. “Our students believe that simple, cost-effective and long-lasting water projects change lives. They know that when water comes, everything changes.”