BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville Elementary School students have taken to heart the plight of millions of children in the world who die from illness as a result of contaminated water.
"They don't deserve having dirty water," said second-grader Cora Vandiver, 8.
Fourth-grader Steve Taylor, 9, agrees almost word for word. "They don't deserve to have that dirty water," he said.
Brooksville Elementary is a school of global studies and they take on a project to help others each year. Last year they raised $1,000 for Heifer International. The year before, they raised funds for Partners with Health, an organization co-founded by former Brooksville resident Paul Farmer that has worked in Haiti since the 1980s.
This time their annual Global Celebration focused on water. They were raising money to help cover the cost of drilling a well through Global Water (globalwater.org).
The event is coordinated by global lab teacher Kathy Gates, 61. She sees students in grades K-5 and has told them about the plight of people who are faced with unsafe water. "The idea is to keep people safe and healthy," she said. It is better and more cost-effective, she explained, to put in a well than to treat the diseases contracted from waterborne organisms.
The two-day event includes geography lessons and a festival. The lessons are displays created by class levels exhibited in the cafeteria where all the students can see what each other did. Kindergarten did its display about Australia. First grade studied Africa. Second grade tackled South America and third grade researched Europe. Fourth grade took on Asia and fifth graders did North America.
The festival the following day was when the funds were raised to pay for the well and for school improvements. There were games and crafts, food and drinks, all for sale for quarters.
Gates didn't want the students to just go home and ask for money. She thought it would be more meaningful if they earned it and she encouraged that.
Cora Vandiver took that message seriously. She said she raised money by "having a yard sale at my grandma's. We sold me and my sister's old toys that we don't use." She said she raised about $16 dollars in quarters.
Second-grader Asher Gibson, 8, raised his quarters by "doing chores," such as setting the table. He said, "Because kids need clean water to live."
Steve Taylor earned his money by doing chores, too. "I walked my dog. Took out the trash. Cleaned my room," he said. He figures he earned about 70 quarters, which is a lot to spend. If he can't use them all, he's willing to share.