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Lincoln 7th graders' Walk for Water

Lincoln 7th graders' Walk for Water

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes is a phrase used to help people understand the experiences and challenges of others. This week, 7th graders at Lincoln Middle School took that to heart and walked over three miles as part of a bigger lesson. 

Students transported containers from Lincoln to the Wildwood Nature Center, filled them at the pond, and brought them back to Lincoln. This activity provided insight into the daily life of children their age in a different community, simulating the journey many Sudanese people make to obtain water. This topic has been part of the 7th graders' studies. 

“One seventh grader expressed how excited he was that kids in South Sudan would be thinking of kids all the way across the world in Park Ridge, and vice versa. It was such a privilege to see the connections and sense of global citizenship our students developed,” said Jett Applebaum, an ELA teacher at Lincoln. “I’m grateful to be a part of this wonderful Lincoln tradition!”

This was just part of the unit for students as they learned more about the global water crisis. 

Science classes studied the water cycle, water conservation, and waterborne diseases; math classes tracked personal water usage (as well as ways to conserve water at home and at school); social studies classes learned about the history and geography of Sudan and South Sudan, as well as the Second Sudanese Civil War. 

During their nonfiction reading unit, ELA classes of all levels read and discussed A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. This book tells the true story of Salva Dut, a man from South Sudan who is separated from his family during the Sudanese Civil War. He and many other young men (known as "The Lost Boys") traveled across Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya, living as refugees. Salva was placed with a foster family in the US but ultimately returned to Sudan to start an organization called Water for South Sudan after his father became severely ill with a disease he developed after drinking contaminated water. 

ELA classes also crafted persuasive letters to encourage friends, family, community members, and local business owners to support Lincoln's Water for South Sudan fundraiser.

“From the interdisciplinary instruction to the field trip to the fundraiser, this collaboration resulted in a lot of learning and a big contribution to a community outside of Park Ridge. I'm proud of the students, my colleagues, and our efforts to make a difference,” said Melissa Walters, an ELA teacher at Lincoln. 

WFSS installs wells in remote villages in South Sudan to provide sustainable access to clean, safe drinking water. It also provides sanitation training and hygiene education to empower people to live in safer, healthier environments. Finally, the wells relieve girls and women from the responsibility of traveling six to eight hours a day by foot through the desert to retrieve water for their families. Girls are now more likely to attend school, and some women are more likely to have the choice to work outside the home and contribute to their communities in different ways. Over 500 wells have been constructed over the last ten years; as a result, life expectancy for the Sudanese has increased by five to ten years, local economies are growing, and preventable illnesses are less rampant and fatal.

In Aketch, South Sudan, you’ll find “Lincoln Middle School” etched into a well. Thanks to the hard work of Lincoln’s students and staff and the community's generosity, LMS has sponsored three wells in Sudan.  In 2022, Lincoln raised more than $15,000 to help install the wells.  

“Thank you for your support and generosity, which is now providing clean water - and a new future - for the people in Warrap State, South Sudan,” said WFSS Executive Director Lynn Malooly in a letter to the school. 

Together We Discover, Learn, Grow & Care

At D64, our mission is to foster opportunities for discovery, engagement, and growth for all students. We accomplish this by nurturing interdependence, appreciation of differences, and care for self and others.

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