W - HSCS WaterHigh Springs Community School students found sponsors and walked laps carrying two gallons water to raise money for a water well in a third world village.

HIGH SPRINGS – High Springs Community School middle grades media specialist Judith Weaver was inspired by a book she read from the Sunshine State Young Authors list. The partly biographical book, “A Long Walk to Water,” brings to light the plight of children in certain Sudanese communities who are unable to attend school because they must spend their days walking for hours to find fresh water to bring back to their families for the basic necessities of life. Recent water conservation issues in our own area due to aquifers not replenishing after rains and river beds drying up bring this dilemma half way across the world from the Sudan right to the front doors of children in the High Springs community.

Weaver approached school’s School Advisory Council (SAC) to ask for multiple copies of the book so that whole classes could read it and make connections between the information in literature and what is happening in their own backyards. The SAC authorized the purchase of three class sets of the novel. Hundreds of the students at the school read the book. In addition to reading the books, students have been informed about the importance of water conservation and its impact for the future in a myriad of ways.

On March 22, 73 kindergarteners, 100 fifth graders, and 176 middle grades students raised $2,200 to build a well in a third world village that needs clean water.  Participants found sponsors who donated money for each lap the students walked.  While the students were walking laps, they also carried two gallons of water to symbolize the plight of children worldwide who must walk as much as four hours each way for water.  Much of this water is not clean and is responsible for death and disease throughout the world. As part of the "Walking for Water" project, students visited up to five environmental experts who lectured on global warming, water scarcity, underground springs in our area, alligators, reptiles and snakes, Sudan, Tanzania, groundwater and filtration systems.

This day culminated a year-long project that included many grades reading "A Long Walk to Water" by Sue Parks, a visit to the Natural History Museum and the Devil's Millhopper sinkhole in Gainesville, which was funded by the Alachua County Public School Foundation, and a focus on water conservation throughout the year. All monies collected were donated to the High Springs Rotary for the Rotary International's ongoing World Water project that seeks to provide a source for clean water for every person in the world.

High Springs Community School has expressed thanks to the teachers, students, volunteers, community members and guest speakers who assisted with and donated money toward this project.  With the funds already collected, and the remaining pledge funds to be turned in, the school hopes to meet the goal of raising $2,400. This would provide for not one, but two wells for small communities, like High Springs, but located where children have “a long walk to water.”

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