On Thursday, March 11, 2021, Delmarva Christian School Milton Campus hosted their inaugural “Water Day” event wherein elementary and middle-school students had the opportunity to learn about the global clean water crisis and raise money to support clean water fundraising efforts around the world.

“When we had to cancel our annual Science Carnival due to COVID-19 restrictions, I knew the students would be disappointed, so I began working on an alternative plan,” said DCMC Middle School Science Teacher Julie Eckels. “I learned of World Vision International’s annual ‘Water Day’ drive and saw an opportunity for our students.”

Immediately, she began tweaking the program to create a comprehensive learning experience. Miss Eckels incorporated academic lessons and week-long challenges that culminated in a one-day, school-wide “Water Day” event that included a ‘Water Walk,’ learning stations, and a fun ‘Dirty Water Dunk.’

“Of course, I wanted to incorporate science and math lessons so the students could develop an understanding of the biology of clean versus unclean water,” said Miss Eckels, “But, as we learned more about how many people don’t have access to water–let alone clean water–we realized the project wasn’t about us anymore.”

The journey began with informational videos highlighting the challenges and risks individuals face every day because of water scarcity. Subsequent lessons included water-use calculations and conservation; microorganisms and water contamination; and tip-tap hand-washing structures.

A week before the event, a special Chapel service was held for the middle school students where they received photos and informational packets of “sponsor children” that they would pray for up to “Water Day.”

Then on March 11, DCMC middle school students took to the streets of Milton and experienced firsthand what it’s like to travel over three miles by foot to gather and transport buckets of water, while younger students remained on campus and participated in numerous learning activities, including: lifting 40-pound jugs of water, constructing ‘tip taps,’ purifying dirty water, calculating average daily water use, and brainstorming solutions for difficult real-world, water-gathering scenarios.

“I believe that connecting with a child and ‘walking’ in their shoes really made a tremendous impact propelling our students to want to learn more,” said Miss Eckels. “I grew more than I ever imagined, and the students did too.”

(Above) Sunny skies and warm temperatures were enjoyed by the middle school students as they journeyed to and from the Milton boat dock retrieving and carrying water along the way.

Armed with empty buckets, students walk from the Little League fields in Milton to the town’s boat dock where they will fill their buckets with river water.
Students struggle as they return with filled buckets. The three-plus mile journey provided a firsthand experience of what it is like for those who must gather and transport water daily.
During Water-Day events on campus, students construct and test ‘tip tap’ structures used for effective handwashing.
After learning about the different microorganisms that live in dirty water and how they effect a person’s health, students learn how to purify water that will be safe for drinking, cooking, and washing.
Around the world many young children carry water in jugs known as jerry cans. Once filled with water, one person may find themselves lugging as much as 40 pounds. During Water Day activities, students experienced the weight as they lifted containers from the ground.
Upon discovering that the average family living in Africa uses only five gallons of water a day, students calculated their own usage and then brainstormed ways to conserve.
A week before the Water Day event, middle school students were introduced to their sponsor children, and were asked to pray for their ‘adopted’ children throughout the week.
In preparation for March 11, students given the opportunity to experience what other children might eat for dinner or where they might sleep at night. When speaking of her son, Olga Long said, ““He really struggled at first, but stuck to it. It was a great teaching and humbling moment.”