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PECS sixth grade virtual walk raises money for South Sudan

Oreste Perez walked 9.1 miles and Timothy Urbina walked 9.144 miles during the fundraiser for Water for South Sudan and helped the class raise $684 to assist the Sudanese people with access to clean water. (Courtesy photo)

BRIGHTON — Sixth graders at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School put themselves into the shoes of those less fortunate as they conducted a virtual walk fundraiser. The money raised will help clean water reach more people where little exists, in South Sudan.

Teacher Amy Carr continued November’s theme of “HOPE>HATE” by having the class read the novel “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park. The novel follows two Sudanese 11-year-old kids, a boy in 1985 and a girl in 2008. Both endured hardships caused by lack of water and a safe place to live. The students learned the Sudanese people are still suffering today.

“The women walk over 3.7 miles every single day carrying heavy buckets of water,” Carr said in an email. “We asked teachers, family and friends to help us raise money so that wells and clean water can be brought to those less fortunate than us.”

Students wore pedometers every day for the month of December and competed to see who would walk the most miles. Landon French walked 9.390 miles, Timothy Urbina clocked 9.144 miles and Oreste Perez put 9.1 miles on his pedometer.

The effort raised $684, which will be sent to Water for South Sudan, a nonprofit that aims to provide clean water, hygiene education and sanitation programs to rural communities.

When the students were asked how they felt learning what Sudanese women must go through every day just to get clean water, they sent their responses to Carr.

Clayson Osceola wrote, “I was very heartbroken to learn what the Sudanese had to do just to get water and survive.”

“I feel proud about how hard these women work to help their families survive the harsh conditions in their village,” wrote Ila Trueblood.

Joleyne Nunez wrote, “I feel sad knowing that they walk just to go to water that could be contaminated, and all we have to do is walk to the fridge, store, or gas station which is not even far.”

Joleyne added her thoughts about what the challenge must be like for the Sudanese people.

“I think it was difficult, but even harder for them because they had to walk to water and face jaguars, lions and many other things. Also, it is very easy for them to catch diseases. There is even war going on and many families got split apart and heartbroken. I feel sorry that they have to go through that harshness,” Joleyne said.

Carr said the fundraiser is officially over, but they will continue to accept donations at this website:

Principal Tracy Downing was pleased with the fundraising project.

“I am impressed with the thoughtful comments these students made,” Downing said. “They are heartwarming. I am so proud they are taking part in a real life situation and helping others.”

Ila Trueblood runs through the Brighton Reservation as a way to raise money for Water for South Sudan, a nonprofit that helps provide clean water, hygiene education and sanitation programs to the African country. (Courtesy photo)
Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at