On Wednesday, February 13, and Thursday, February 14, 2019, the 7th grade students at Lawrence Middle School participated in the Iron Giraffe Challenge. Before the challenge, students read and learned about the hardships, perseverance and the grit of the characters in our CCLS book, A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park. As part of the 7th grade ELA curriculum as taught by Mrs. King, Mrs. Meixsell and Mrs. Rosenfield-Gordon, the book highlighted the difficulties people face, living in areas such as South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. The conflicts Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Self, Man vs. Man, are represented in the stories of the Lost Boys and Girls of South Sudan. These small children were forced to live in a way that most of us cannot imagine, due to the complexity of the Second Sudanese Civil War. All of these children and their families had and still have difficulty obtaining clean water, which is a seemingly very basic human right.
Upon completion of the book, students became aware of the Iron Giraffe Challenge: A challenge for schools to raise $1,000 or more for a chance to win a school visit from Salva Dut (the protagonist in the book). The Iron Giraffe Challenge is part of a bigger organization known as Water for South Sudan, which has the mission to: “deliver direct, transformative, and sustainable quality-of-life services to the people of South Sudan by efficiently providing access to clean, safe water and improving hygiene and sanitation practices in areas of great need.”
Students not only completed a walk-a-thon to raise money for this cause, they also rose to the challenge of completing an obstacle course that was collaboratively created by the Lawrence Middle School Physical Education Department: Mr. McQuillan, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Donnelly, and Mr. Supple. The physical education teachers utilized different materials to create an obstacle course. Burlap sacks were fashioned to create a quicksand pit; raised hurdles, and a ball pit with buckets were used to symbolize the carrying of water a great distance, as Nya, another main character, was assigned to do, daily. Students continuously walked and completed the obstacle course for their entire physical education class to further empathize with the amount of time spent by those in South Sudan who must walk long and often dangerous journeys to reach water.
Our school is noted as being a school that rose to the Iron Giraffe challenge on the organization's website at:https://www.waterforsouthsudan.org/iron-giraffe-challenge/