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Students raise $10K for well

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@chronicle-tribune.com

Superintendent Randy Harris was moved to tears when he shared the story of how one elementary class raised over $10,000 after a book called them to action.

For the Lancaster Legacy Project, a project that allows students to leave their mark for years to come after Lancaster Elementary closes, the first grade class chose to team up with a foundation that helps clean wells for villages and establish new ones to provide sources of clean drinking water.

During the Huntington County Community School Corporation meeting Monday night, Harris told board members how the children’s book “The Water Princess” inspired Lancaster first grade students.

“The Water Princess” is a book written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds based on the experiences of Georgie Badiel, who walked miles every day to collect water that was contaminated and undrinkable. In the book, Princess Gie Gie wears a heavy crown of water that she carries on her head each day and brings back to her village.

He said many of the students sat in silence after the story was over, some of them nearly in tears. Harris said the students could hardly believe there were people without access to clean water, that they were outraged by the problem and were ready to find a solution.

Knowing that raising $750 would clean a well but $10,000 would build a brand new one with the Beorgie Badiel Foundation, the first graders decided to go big.

“Between the students, the teachers and all of the many supporters in the Huntington community, they’ve raised enough to have a well installed in Africa,” Harris said.

They’ve established a GoFundMe page and are still collecting funds for the foundation at Lancaster’s Legacy of Clean Water at gofundme.com

The board also approved the hiring of five new faculty members, including a second resource officer to help monitor students during lunch periods. Matt Roth explained that the high school is condensing lunch periods from three sessions to two during the day. The new officer, who has worked at the school before, will assist in monitoring students during the larger lunch hours.

Board members also discussed having a work session before the beginning of the school year to discuss the progress of Riverview Middle School. They board tentatively scheduled the work session for July. The next board meeting is at Salamonie Elementary School on June 25 at 7 p.m.