Easthampton elementary students raise funds for water project in Kenya
Students at White Brook Middle School held their annual Veterans Day Assembly Nov. 7 in honor of local veterans. Among them was, top row far left, Michael Powers, a physical education teacher at White Brook and US. Marine Corps veteran.
Photo courtesy of White Brook Middle School Purchase photo reprints »
White Brook Middle school physical education teacher and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Michael Powers wore his uniform to last week's Veterans Day Assembly at the middle school.
photo courtesy of White Brook Middle School Purchase photo reprints »
Students at Center/Pepin prepare for a water walk to raise funds for a clean water project in Kenya. Students, shown here on the school steps, walked two miles carrying a gallon of water to experience what Kenyan children go through daily.
Photo courtesy of Marge Revord Purchase photo reprints »
EASTHAMPTON — Students at Center/Pepin School raised $2,425 recently to help build a new well for a village in western Kenya. The well for the Wakukha community is part of The Water Project, a nonprofit that provides clean water to communities in the developing world.
Easthampton’s fund drive was launched two years ago by students in Center/Pepin’s after-school program, but grew quickly to include the entire school community, said Marge Revord, a second-grade teacher who coordinated the effort.
On the kickoff “Water Day,” students wore blue and donated $1 to the cause. Fundraising continued for four weeks and relied on parents, who set up collection boxes at Nonotuck Park and Easthampton Savings Bank.
The project was “a great service-learning project,” Revord said. Students attended an assembly about the scarcity of water in other parts of the world and organized a Community Water Walk, carrying water for about two miles to experience what children in Kenya go through to obtain clean water.
Details about The Water Project and Center/Pepin’s efforts are available online on the organization’s website. In the dropdown menu, click on “Find a Fundraising Page” and type in “Easthampton Public Schools.”
Teacher dons Marine uniform
Among the former veterans invited onstage during White Brook Middle School’s annual Veterans Day Assembly last week was Michael Powers, a physical education teacher at the middle school.
Powers, an Easthampton native who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1988 to 1992, takes part in the ceremony once every few years so he can continue to surprise students with his presence in uniform.
“I think I’m the only teacher in the whole school system that’s a vet,” said Powers, 43, who attended Easthampton schools and has taught in the district for nearly 10 years. “I want the students to see me in a different situation.”
As a Marine, Powers was assigned to protect U.S. diplomats in Germany, the former Yugoslavia, Finland and countries in West Africa.
White Brook’s Veterans Day assembly, now a decade-old tradition at the school, is organized by seventh- and eighth-graders working with faculty advisers. Students read essays they’ve written to mark the occasion and the school band performs. Afterward, veterans are escorted to the library for a celebratory brunch.
What questions did students have for Powers at this year’s event?
“A lot of them wanted to know what the ribbons on my uniform represented,” he said.
“For me, being onstage was a little humbling,” Powers added. “Some of the vets in the ceremony faced far more serious situations than I did while they were serving.”
Financial aid help
The Easthampton High School Guidance Department is hosting a college financial aid workshop for students and parent Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium. A representative from the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority will provide information on different types of financial aid, how to apply and how to determine workable financing options. Families are encouraged to download a copy of the Power Point presentation before the session at mefa.org/planforcollege.
For further details, call the high school Guidance Office at 529-1588.
Book wish lists
The city elementary school library giving program offers students a chance to donate books in honor of a teacher or other school staff member. Book wish lists are available for each school library and are posted on individual school websites. Book plates are placed inside each selection in honor of the designee. Donation forms are available at Center/Pepin and Maple schools. The deadline for returning them with a check is Dec. 20. Forms can be mailed to: Easthampton High School, 70 Williston Ave., Easthampton, MA 01027, attn: Robin Rowe. Envelopes should be marked “Library Gift Giving Program.”