By all admissions, the book “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortensen is an inspiring tale. So much so that when four fifth-grade girls at Flowery School read the book, they decided to embark on their own Pennies for Peace Campaign. The students, Ellie Bon, Emily Curiel, Helena Goodman-Chavez and Jessica McAtee-Pierson brought the idea to their teacher, Krista McAtee, who helped them launch the campaign school-wide.
The girls said that while they had read the book just for fun, it made them realize that they were taking their education for granted – that millions of children around the world didn’t have the same opportunities to go to school and learn. They decided to do something about it.
They put together a presentation which they delivered to school faculty as well as to each of the 15 kindergarten through fifth-grade classes. As part of the campaign, they placed jars in each classroom into which students could put their spare change. So far, students are excited and money is filling the jars.
“The little kids were the most excited,” said Jessica McAtee-Pierson. “They wanted to start giving right away and dug in their pockets or backpacks to give us handfuls of money.”
A final count of the money collected will be done on May 27. With what is raised, the girls plan to purchase school supplies and toys for the ESNA Village Network which connects villages in rural El Salvador with communities in North America in order to build lasting social change. The tiny town that will receive their gifts is called Coluco and the McAtee family will visit there this summer to help build a new school.
The students pointed out that, as girls, they didn’t want to see other girls growing up uneducated because they had little or no control over their own lives. “Many young children are really learning about what is happening to other kids across the world and they really care. They want to do what they can to make education possible for other kids,” they said.
In addition to monetary donations the students are looking for gently used soccer equipment that can be sent to Coluco as well. Old uniforms, cleats, soccer balls and the like are all welcomed. Oh, and marbles. Marbles is a game that is beloved by children in El Salvador. Items can be dropped off in the Flowery School office.