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Isenberg Elementary students raise money for South Sudan

By Andie Foley

For the Salisbury Post

Students and staff members at Isenberg Elementary School celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week with a twist this year.

In a project led by Isenberg’s media specialist, Karen Puckett, the school community came together to raise money for vulnerable children in the Pariang area of South Sudan. Puckett said this effort was in honor of Participate faculty on campus, formerly known as Visiting International Faculty.

“We are a global school, and we’re really trying to up our game on doing global initiatives as well as our regular curriculum,” she said.

The weeklong project was called “Teachers Can Change the World.” Money was collected for the Raising South Sudan education project. Each day, participants paid a dollar to participate in Spirit Week activities: Pajama Day, Jersey Day, Multicultural Day, Dress Like a Teacher Day and Dress Down Day.

Raising South Sudan is a partnership with the Salisbury-based nonprofit group Sudan Rowan and the Charlotte-based nonprofit Mothering Across Continents. The partnership has helped provide meals, uniforms, textbooks, teachers and classrooms for more than 600 children.

By Friday, Isenberg students and partnering community members had raised nearly $900 for the cause.

Students were encouraged to log at least five laps around the school track during the week in a “Walk for Wisdom,” an effort meant to bring an element of realism to a schoolwide reading of “Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan.”

“Brothers in Hope” chronicles the experience of a group of displaced children on their journey to freedom and safety. Their journey would take them nearly 1,000 miles on foot.

Puckett encouraged Isenberg students to log a collective 2,000 laps around the track by the end of the week – and they were successful.

Principal Marvin Moore said teachers were pleased with student involvement.

“Last year, we did a walk  … but it wasn’t as big of a turnout as we would have liked it to be,” he said. “So one of the things Karen and I talked about … was, ‘Let’s try to do something during the school day so we can have everybody involved.’”

As “Teachers Can Change the World” ended Friday, the number participating in Isenberg’s closing Unity Event signaled success. In a blustery wind, students joined hands around the track in a display of unity.

The track was full, and the students were all smiles.

For more information about Raising South Sudan, go to www.motheringacrosscontinents.org/RaisingSouthSudan.

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