Sunset Heights second grader students raise $14,000 for water wells in Kenya
Second grade students at Sunset Heights Elementary School raised $14,000 last week during their annual Shower Strike. Students went a whole week without showering to raise money for wells in Kenya. This included wearing the same shirt throughout the week.
“The Shower Strike is where we raise money for Kenya so they can have a well,” said Joseph Melendez, age 7.
“We did it to raise money because water is important,” said Kaitlyn Winkler, 8. “This will help kids in Kenya not get sick and get clean water.”
“I think that it really has taught the kids a lot of empathy and some of the things that they have taken for granted, they’ve realized that kids in other countries don’t have the same luxuries that we have,” said Colette Bertran, second grade teacher at Sunset Heights. “This is a global issue. This is so much bigger than us.”
Nearly 100 second graders participated. According to Dawn Scholtens, instructional coach and former second grade teacher at Sunset Heights, the Shower Strike raised $180,000 nation-wide.
“It was really special because this has been so important to me. We’ve done it for six years, so to have everyone join in this year together and to make it so big and have them name a well after Sunset is really special,” said Scholtens.
Scholtens began doing the Shower Strike six years ago with her second grade class at Sunset Heights. She heard about the program through her sister-in-law, who used to be on the board for Well Aware.
“She told me about it and I though it would be fun for my second graders to do it,” Scholtens said. Now the other second grade teachers have joined in so we all do it together.”
“We were raising money for Kenya so they could make a well for clean water,” said Arianna Obrecht, 7. “I think the kids in Kenya will be really happy because we raised a lot of money for them.”
“It was fun raising money for Kenya because one day we got a message from the people who are going to build the well and we’ve raised enough money for them to label the well for us,” said Zowie Esper, 7.
“My favorite part was raising money for a well in Kenya,” said Sarahi Teriazas, 7.
Although this is Scholtens’ last year doing the strike, second grade teachers will continue the tradition next year.
“Mrs. Scholtens has started something so amazing,” said Bertran. “As a whole second grade team, we’re honored that we can carry on this tradition Mrs. Scholtens started.”
Students at Sunset raised more than any other school and will have a well named in their honor in Kenya this May. They will also have the opportunity to Skype with the children in Kenya who will benefit from the well during the end of May.
“I think they really are thinking about what they do and how important water is. I think the biggest thing is the empathy that it teaches them,”Bertran said.
“This is just really special to me because the kids understand that they can make a difference clear around the world,” said Scholtens. “That’s something I want them to remember even as they grow up, that they can always help someone else and always make a difference.”
“The reason we do this at Sunset Heights is because people in Kenya don’t have clean water and Kenya is my favorite country,” said Efrain Calles-Arinz, 8. “Every 21 seconds one child dies from lack of access to clean water.”
“She’s leaving quite a legacy. We saw how it was changing kids and lives were changing,” said Bertran.
“We’re really looking forward to continuing this and helping as much as we can, supporting the families in Kenya,” Bertran said.
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