Collegiate 5th Graders Participate in Water Olympics

Collegiate School’s entire 5th Grade competed in the annual Water Olympics this morning on Grover Jones Field, a fun-filled end to their yearlong study of water.
The Middle Schoolers began their exploration last fall by reading A Long Walk to Water, through which they learned about one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan — Salva Dut — who ultimately gives back to his homeland of South Sudan by building wells.

The students continued learning about the importance of clean water throughout their history studies by exploring the James River. They finished up their studies with discoveries about the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome and how water was essential for their survival.

In addition, the 5th Graders raised funds to build a well in South Sudan by holding bake sales and lemonade stands, babysitting, tutoring, selling homemade slime, performing household chores and walking dogs. One student found a creative way to increase the amount raised. She accompanied her father on a business trip, where she stood in front of his colleagues and told them of the 5th Graders' fundraising efforts. One of her father’s business partners said that if they collected $1,000, his company would match that amount with another $1,000.

The student’s Advisory collected its funds this week. The group surpassed its goal of $1,000 and raised $1,500 to meet the pledged match. Without the match, the 5th Graders raised $3,200.

Middle School history teacher Carrie Thomas, who leads that Advisory, says she was incredibly proud of her students and that they were inspired by A Long Walk to Water to help girls in South Sudan, who spend their days trying to access water instead of getting an education.

“Watching them accomplish their fundraising goals was truly inspiring,” she said.

Middle School humanities teacher Laurie Shadowen says lessons like this prove to the students the impact they can have.

“We keep reminding the kids that no matter how young they are, they can make a difference,” she said.
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