All of Sedgwick Middle School will be involved in a special Community Day next Wednesday, Oct. 31, as students, teachers, and administrators, "foster hope, perseverance, community, leadership, and giving back through thoughtful reflection of 'A Long Walk to Water.'"
"A community is empowered when it shares a common purpose," Principal Roszena Haskins wrote in an email to Sedgwick families detailing the celebration. "Enhancing Our Community; Sharing Our Humanity," is the theme of Community Day.
The entire school read "A Long Walk to Water" by Linda Sue Park, a book based on the true story of one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan. The book was selected by Shannon McNiece and Rona Berkowitz, and copies were purchased through a grant McNiece obtained from the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools as well as through the use of Read-a-thon funds.
Community Day takes the study of this "amazing tale of extreme courage, hope and change" to the next level as it incorporates a multi-disciplinary approach to establishing connections for the students to the book's many messages.
One of the Community Day activities is a one-mile "journey" from Sedgwick to Town Hall. Students and staff have been asked to donate canned food items and those items will be carried on the journey and donated to the West Hartford Food Pantry. "Students will have a greater appreciation for Nya and other children like her when having to carry canned-food items for a distance of about one mile," Haskins wrote in her email.
Students will walk from Sedgwick, north on Wardwell to Boulevard, east on Boulevard to South Main St., north on South Main to the crosswalk to Town Hall. They will be met at Town Hall by parent volunteers who will collect the food items.
Each grade will have its own "journey" with sixth graders departing at 9 a.m., seventh graders at 10 a.m., and eighth graders at 11 a.m.
Neighbors along the route are encouraged to wave signs, cheer them on, and can even add their own canned food donations to support the effort.
There are several other elements to Community Day.
"We wanted water to be a running theme. For the art activity we are going to create a chandelier out of recycled water bottles, the walk to town hall is entitled 'Our Community River: Neighbors Helping Neighbors.' We will all wear blue (like a river) and carry goods to the town hall," said Sedgwick teacher Meghan Gaignard, chair of the Community Day committee.
Gaignard said that all students will also participate in an intellectual activity – a poetry contest called "River of Words" put on by St. Mary's College.
In addition, Abraham Deng, a "Lost Boy" from Sudan, will speak to the students. Gaignard said he will "talk about his life experience, the importance of giving back, and hope."