On April 6, the spirited seventh-grade students of Kyrene Altadeña Middle School took a walk that transcended borders, as they raised $2,000 to make a tangible difference in the lives of South Sudanese families. For the seventh consecutive year, the students participated in a fundraiser aimed at providing clean water to impoverished communities in the African nation.

In a display of empathy and leadership, the students, guided by their English Language Arts (ELA) teachers, carried two gallons of water each as they completed laps around the school track. This exercise was not only a fundraising effort but also a way for students to step into the shoes of a character from the book “A Long Walk to Water.” The story chronicles the journey of a young Sudanese girl who walks for hours each day, barefoot, to collect water for her family.

Christine Badgley, a seventh-grade ELA teacher, highlighted the importance of the annual Water Walk, saying, “Altadeña’s staff builds leadership through empathy. Our event embodies our LEAD principles, which encourage our students to become global citizens through giving.”

The students’ determination and commitment were evident as they surpassed their initial goal of raising $1,000 for the Water for South Sudan organization. With over $2,000 collected this year, Kyrene Altadeña Middle School has now raised a cumulative sum of more than $13,000, enabling them to partially sponsor a well in South Sudan.
Tara Camarano, another seventh-grade ELA teacher, expressed her delight in witnessing the students’ enthusiasm and understanding, saying, “I love seeing the students participate and really get into it. Hearing them say that they have a new appreciation for life in South Sudan is the most rewarding thing!”

The funds raised will go towards constructing wells in Sudanese villages, where women and children typically walk an average of 3.7 miles per trip to fetch often-contaminated water. According to Water for South Sudan, a mere one in 10 people in the region has access to basic sanitation. The unwavering support and empathy of Kyrene Altadeña Middle School students continue to create a ripple effect of hope and change in South Sudan.