Posted by H2O for Life Intern Talia Milavetz
Salem Hills teacher Jean White has been involved in H2O for Life since its inception. She was teaching physical education at the time, and found that doing a Walk for Water tied perfectly into the curriculum. She could have her students get exercise by walking around a track and carrying jugs of water while simultaneously raising awareness for the global water crisis. Still, it was just a trial and she didn’t know exactly what she was getting in to. “We went in to it blindsided, and it became the best thing we ever got involved with,” White said.
H2O for Life at Salem Hills quickly expanded from the Walk for Water to include other fundraising ideas like a lemonade stand on grandparent’s day, a Water Fair, and a cardboard arcade. The cardboard arcade really became a part of the third grade culture. It was something they all looked forward to every year. Cardboard Arcade worked well at Salem Hills, a STEM school. Students created blue prints for their games and engineered them to bring their visions to life. The third grade teachers at Salem Hills made all this possible. Ms. White said, “The third grade teachers are exceptional. They think outside the box and provide an education that is really inquiry based”.
Third grader Avianna really showed the impact of H2O for Life when a local Ashoka Leader came to spend the morning at Salem Hills. Ashoka is a network of schools chosen because of their work around empathy, leadership, problem solving and teamwork. Jean White was chosen as a local Ashoka ambassador because of her work around service learning. After spending a day with Avianna, the local Ashoka ambassador said that the information, knowledge and passion that Avianna, a third grader, had for the water crisis was unfathomable. Jean White says the Avianna will be a “Water Warrior Forever.”
Like Avianna, so many of the Salem Hills students have been impacted by their involvement in H2O for Life. They have broadened their worldviews and developed a great awareness for the water crisis. According to Ms. White, “The students were irate when they saw all the water that was used to sprinkle the football field. ‘We need a turf field’ they said. Students went out to fight for the field and could explain why it was important.”
Salem Hills embodies the goals of H2O for Life. Their work is creating students who are empathetic and globally conscious. Their fundraisers are exciting for the students and effective in their efforts to raise enough money to build a water source for their partner schools.
Thank you, Jean White and Salem Hills, for all of your hard work!
Watch for Jean a little after the 2 minute mark in this video: