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North Forsyth Middle students take a walk in African childrens shoes

THE GRIND: West Forsyth's Jacob Miller

Filmed by Micah Green Edited by Joshua Sutton

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NORTH FORSYTH — Seventh-graders at North Forsyth Middle school recently took the “walk a mile in their shoes” thought to heart and practice.

On May 4, about 375 of them walked 3.7 miles to participate in a “Walk for Water” event, experiencing firsthand the distance many African women and children travel each day to search for and collect water.

They carried a full two-gallon bucket for half of the distance, proving more challenging than many of them expected.

“I never thought a bucket of water would be so heavy,” one student said as she walked.

That’s exactly why Kathy Armour, a social studies teacher at the school off Hwy. 9 and Matt Hwy., said she organized the two-hour event.

“I wanted students to have a hands-on learning experience that would reinforce our study of environmental and economic issues facing Africa, including limited access to water, water-borne diseases and the economic impact on children not able to attend school.

“I wanted our students to gain a perspective on the lives of women and children around the world who must walk an average of six hours a day for water.”

Jeffrey Lyons and Jarred Andrews from the Forsyth County Fire Department set up a portable water reservoir, Armour said. That allowed students to fill their buckets halfway through the walk before completing the simulation.

Armour said she was delighted with the response from both students and staff.

“Everyone just jumped on board, including Principal Jeff Hunt,” she said.

Some students helped prepare for the walk, while others displayed signs along the route, educating walkers about water-related statistics from around the world.

“My hope is that when students turn on a faucet or get a drink from the water fountain,” she said, “they’ll remember the heaviness of their buckets and feel both gratitude for the clean water we take for granted and compassion for children who make the trek each and every day.”