Lynch-Bustin students stepping up for Sudan

Lynch-Bustin Elementary fifth grade students Brycen Wood, Alexis Cocco, and Lilley Watkins talk about their fundraising efforts for the Water for South Sudan organization.

Fifth grade ELA students at Lynch-Bustin Elementary are about $600 shy of an $1,800 fundraising goal for the Water for South Sudan organization.

“They’re drilling wells all of the time,” teacher Erica Greer explained about the organization. “They’re trying to get as much money as they can to continue building them for as many villages in South Sudan as they can.”

According to students presenting during Tuesday’s Athens School Board meeting, the effort was inspired by the book “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park.

“Dirty water can kill people and it also spreads diseases,” said student Alexis Cocco. “Many people in Sudan have to walk for hours to get water for their families. Every day, with the help of Salva (Water for South Sudan founder Salva Dut) and his friends, wells are being built in the villages so people have easier access to clean water.”

As student Brycen Wood explained, a series of Wildcat Water Wednesdays have helped promote the cause and raise money, including a school-wide pajama day and gently used sneaker drive with GotSneakers that not only provides shoes to those in need through business partners in Haiti, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Ukraine, but also earns up to $3 per pair for the school. Wood said the school collected nearly 200 pairs of sneakers.

Greer showed a picture of five full bags of donated sneakers, and said she has reached out to the company for eight more bags so they can ship them all out.

Wood said upcoming fundraisers include a teacher 50/50 drawing, teacher dress down day, and a penny war with a pie in the face for the losing teachers.

“Mr. Toscano (Principal John Toscano) has also willingly agreed to let the winning class pie him in the face,” Wood added.

Through their fundraising efforts, student Lilley Watkins said they have been entered into the Iron Giraffe Challenge and could win either win a meet-and-greet or video chat with Dut.

“It’s been awesome to see the kids and their interest in this book,” Greer said. “If you haven’t read this, I highly recommend it.”

Those wishing to support the fundraising efforts can make checks out to Water for South Sudan.

“Thank you for your support, and now let’s help build a well,” Watkins said.

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