Students Take Action

April 1, 2015 at 08:40

MSD Editor

Fox Hill Fifth Graders Are Motivated to Support Peers in Uganda

April 1, 2015

When Mrs. Pinsky’s and Mrs. Jenkins’s fifth grade students entered their classroom at Fox Hill Elementary School one morning in February, they were surprised to find that their desks, chairs and supplies were gone. They spent their morning participating in their usual math and reading lessons, but with no desks or chairs and with limited access to paper and pencils.

Later they learned that they were participating in a simulation called “Sit for Good” which provides an introduction for students to the ways that students in East Africa attend school and to the organization Building Tomorrow. Building Tomorrow’s founder, George Srour, was a former student at Fox Hill.

“I was so confused! It was so hard to focus on learning because we were trying to focus on being comfortable,” said Lizzy Maze.

That afternoon, Srour spoke to the fifth grade students regarding their International Baccalaureate unit of study during which they were learning how common goals bind groups to achieve success.

Srour attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, where he graduated in 2005 with a major in Government and International Relations. During his time at the university, while on a trip to Uganda as a United Nations intern, he was struck by insufficiency of the local schools.

Upon his return, he started a campaign to build a school. From that first action, he founded the non-profit organization, Building Tomorrow. To date, the organization has opened seventeen schools and has six under construction.

Srour shared his experiences as a social entrepreneur with the students. After hearing his presentation, the students were motivated to help not only Srour’s organization, but also their peers in Uganda.

Moved by the Srour’s talk, students discussed what their personal responsibility might be to assist him. Remembering their difficult morning without adequate seating and desks students chose to do a “Read-a-Thon” to earn one thousand dollars to purchase sixteen three-person desks: the amount it would take to seat the number of Ugandan students equal to the number of students in the combined classrooms.

Students from the two classrooms have worked together to achieve their goal. Groups created brochures and presentations, a top ten list of facts about education in Uganda, a letter to the principal informing him and the community of their action to change the conditions in the Ugandan schools. One group also wrote a mini-grant (funded by the Washington Township Schools Foundation) to support their fundraising efforts. A bulletin board is ready to track the money collected.

The students will participate in their Read-a-Thon the week of April 6th-April 10th. By the end of April they hope to surprise Srour with a check to purchase the desks.

For more information or to make a contribution, please contact:
Janet Pfadt, Teacher/Librarian; IB PYP Coordinator
Fox Hill Elementary School
802 Fox Hill Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46228


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