Higgins’ students moved to help quench thirst

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Higgins has a huge heart and it was evident Friday, March 9, as the students gathered for an assembly to reveal the amount of money raised so others could have clean water. What began with the reading and discussion of a book in a single class transformed into a school wide fund-raising project, resulting in a $2,222 total.

During the fall, Donna Emmons had read a book called “The Water Princess” to her class. The story is based on the childhood of supermodel Georgie Badiel and tells of a young girl’s dream of brining clean drinking water to her African village.

Discussion about access to clean, running water followed the reading of the book. Instead of buying Christmas presents for one another, the children in Emmons’ class chose to donate money towards supplying clean water for others through Living Water International. The class raised $354.25.

After seeing what they could accomplish, the students went to Forrest Kaiser, the principal, to seek permission to open the fund-raising efforts to the entire school. The goal was set at $680 in hopes that every student would be able to give at least one dollar.

In order to make the fund-raising interesting, the students thought of several challenges for Principal Kaiser. The list was narrowed down to three possibilities and presented to him. If the students met the goal, Kaiser would either have to dress like a drop of water, they would get to dump water on Kaiser or he would compose a song about water and sing it to the school. Kaiser agreed to the singing challenge.

During the assembly, Emmons read an email announcing that Dayspring United Methodist Church of Tyler is taking a group of high school students to build a well with Living Water International in Nicaragua.

Riley Ohlen, Kaiden Williams, Hattie Schneider and Amberlin Richeson, all students in Emmons’ class, told the history of how Make a Water Wish Challenge began. The entire class recited a rhyme they had written during the fund-raiser efforts. Kaiser was called upon to present his composition which he performed while playing bass guitar. Finally, Emmons’ class revealed that $2,222 had been given to the project.

Three adults and seven high school students from Dayspring UMC will travel Sunday-Saturday, July 1-7 to Rivas, Nicaragua to build the well with funds raised by both the school and church. The completed well will have Higgins Elementary written on it.

“As a campus principal, it was wonderful to hear how the class decided to start a service project on their own,” stated Kaiser. “Their plan was well thought through and connected well with our campus focus on serving others and being a “helping hand.”  Throughout the process, these students have been learning how to use persuasive speaking and writing to encourage participation from the entire school.  It really shows the potential that is possible when we let students take ownership of their learning and community.”

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