Sixth graders start water crisis iniative

Emily Shi, Staff Writer

In an effort to raise awareness for water shortages faced by a large portion of the population, Aashna Hari (6), Alexis Gordon (6) and Logan Scharlatt (6) spearheaded a bake sale at the school last Monday.

The $275 of total proceeds of the bake sale will go to the Planet Water Foundation, which focuses on helping underprivileged communities gain access to clean water.

“The purpose of this event is to bring awareness to the students and faculty of HM about the water crisis that is affecting one in nine people across the globe and to raise funds for Planet Water Foundation, whose mission is focused on alleviating the global water crisis and eliminating water poverty by reducing waterborne disease, illness and death, by bringing clean water access and water-health and hygiene education programs to the world’s most impoverished communities,” Middle Division (MD) science teacher BethAnn Marian said.

According to Scharlatt, the sixth graders engage in a yearly science project to learn about conserving and cleaning water, which inspired many members of the class to think about ways to help others obtain clean water.

“They wanted to do something to help after learning about the lack of clean water in many parts of the world and the economic and educational issues it creates for millions of people, while also spreading the word,” Marian said. The students seemed really surprised by how the daily struggle people face with a lack of clean water can prevent them from doing things that people often take for granted, like showering every day or washing clothes, she said.

During the water unit project, the sixth graders learned about four places struggling with a water crisis: Malawi, Africa, Australia, India and Flint, Michigan. “This water crisis event ties directly in with the curriculum and gives a larger insight to each of the countries’ issues,” Hari said. “I was especially astonished by the fact that we have water problems nearby in Michigan.”

In order to tie the project into the bake sale, the students also played videos of kids and adults drinking dirty, polluted and unsanitary water from other locations. Some videos featured places where the only available water is opaque and white and can have significant negative effects on one’s health, she said.

The bake sale was a success because  plenty of people donated and contributed to the cause by buying goods, Scharlatt said.

Some of the goods sold included cupcake cones, Oreos, s’mores Rice Krispie Treats and brownies, Gordon said.

Many students also chose to donate after asking questions about the organization and learning about the importance of the water crisis. The students could tell that people truly cared about the issue and wanted to make a difference, because some donated money without taking treats from the bake sale, Hari said.

Next year, Scharlatt hopes that the new sixth graders will carry on their legacy by continuing to raise awareness of the importance of clean water, she said. Hari aims for the event to expand and become a larger event rather than just a bake sale, she said.

“I personally would love to see this become an annual event tied into our water unit,” Marian said. “Some of the changes to consider making include adding activities for students to participate in to help them gain a better understanding of how the lack of access to clean water impacts families, finding ways to reduce water usage on campus, getting more students involved, and raising more funds.”

“We hope that others will learn from this event and also make a difference in the future,” Gordon said.