2015-05-29 / Community News

Students focus on earthquake relief

Wentworth fifth-graders to host walk-a-thon to assist victims in Nepal
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Wentworth School fifth-graders Riley Shea, Addison Lanoue, Maya Woolverton and Risa Sanders, share information about their efforts to raise money for the victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal at the May 21 Board of Education meeting. The girls, and their classmates, will be collecting money over the next week and a half. (Courtesy photo) Wentworth School fifth-graders Riley Shea, Addison Lanoue, Maya Woolverton and Risa Sanders, share information about their efforts to raise money for the victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal at the May 21 Board of Education meeting. The girls, and their classmates, will be collecting money over the next week and a half. (Courtesy photo) Students in Valerie Razsa’s fifthgrade class at Wentworth School are coming together this month to help an impoverished nation bounce back from a recent earthquake.

Next month the students will hold Nepal-a-thon, a walk-a-thon outside the school, to raise money for the American Red Cross to send to Nepal. They will be collecting pledges both at school and in the neighborhoods between now and then.

For the past few months, the students have been learning about Nepal as part of their world geography unit. Razsa said she was inspired to have her students focus on Nepal after the recent earthquakes.

On Thursday, May 21, four of the 23 students in the class appeared before the Board of Education to share their knowledge and highlight their fundraiser.

Nepal is a landlocked country that sits in the Himalayan mountain range between China and India. It is home to some of the tallest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest. Fifth-grader Maya Woolverton said the mountains are both a blessing and a curse for the Nepalese people. They provide a natural defense in times of war and turmoil and provide employment opportunities for Sherpas, a native people who serve as guides for mountaineers. The mountains also make it difficult to get imports and exports — and, more recently, help and supplies — in and out of the country.

“People in Nepal live very difficult and challenging lives. Even before the earthquake, there was a lot of poverty,” Woolverton told members of the board. “When the earthquake hit, not many people had money to recover quick. It is going to take years.”

Fifth-grader Risa Sanders said the earthquake was caused when the tectonic plate under India shifted, causing the ground to rumble. Since the earthquake on April 25, Nepal, and the region, has had more than 100 aftershocks.

Fellow fifth-grader Addison Lanoue said it could take another decade before Nepal fully recovers from the damage and destruction caused by the earthquake and aftershocks. Many of the country’s temples and historical monuments were totally destroyed.

Nepalese citizens and government officials cannot fully restore the country alone.

“Nepal is a poor country, which makes it difficult to restore things on their own,” said Riley Shea, also a student in Razsa’s class.

Lanoue said the Nepal-a-thon, which will be held June 12 on the school’s bus loop, is geared toward helping in that effort. To help raise awareness about the country students have been organizing a museum in one of the school’s science labs. Wentworth students will have an opportunity to visit the museum June 11, when they will see exhibits on clothing, sports, food, Mount Everest, as well as the ecosystem and physical maps of the country.

“It’s a fun thing that everyone gets excited about right at the end of school,” Razsa said of the museum element.

Razsa said she has been creating museums as part of the world geography unit for the last several years. Typically it does not include a philanthropic effort, but given the circumstances, it made sense to do so this year.

Through the years, Razsa said, her class has adopted acres of rainforest through the Nature Conservancy. The last year doing s, the class raised more than $3,000 and protected more than 100 acres.

“I always tell them, they can’t teach other people until they become an expert themselves,” Razsa said.

Members of the Board of Education, including Chairman Donna Beeley, were impressed with the students’ effort.

“This is good community outreach. I appreciate all the work you are doing,” she said.

Donations can be sent to Mrs. Razsa’s Class, Wentworth School, 9 Wentworth Dr., Scarborough, ME 04074.

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