South Lebanon Elementary School News

Salva Dut Will Visit Kings on 3/29

Posted on: March 18, 2016

Columbia Intermediate is excited and honored to announce that Salva Dut, founder of Water for South Sudan, Inc. and real-life character in the New York Times bestseller, A Long Walk to Water by Newbery Award winner Linda Sue Park, will be visiting our school and community on Tuesday, March 29th!  CIS was recently notified that they are the winner of the Iron Giraffe Super Challenge, which means it was the first school in the world to raise at least $25,000 in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years.  CIS and its sixth graders are committed to helping transform lives in South Sudan by bringing clean water to villages there; the Kings Community is so fortunate to be able to hear from Salva Dut in person.  

Please join us in welcoming Salva Dut to the Kings Community at a special Community Night and Meet and Greet on Tuesday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Columbia Intermediate School.

CIS started the #ReadWalkWater social action plan in the fall of 2013 when the sixth grade teachers decided to incorporate A Long Walk to Water into the Social Injustice unit as the common read aloud.  The sixth graders were captivated and inspired by the grueling and dangerous journey Salva Dut, a real life character in the book, took as a “Lost Boy of Sudan” in 1985.  Not only did he survive, but he led about 1,500 other Lost Boys through southern Sudan to Ethiopia, finally reaching a refugee camp in Kenya, where he lived for six years.  In 1996, with the help of the U.S. State Department and United Nations, Salva, along with about 3,800 Lost Boys, came to the United States.  In 2002, Salva returned to South Sudan when he learned that his father was gravely ill with a water-borne disease. He came back to the U.S. determined to help his South Sudanese village and founded Water for South Sudan, Inc.  Salva has since moved back to South Sudan, and WFSS has drilled over 260 wells, which have produced clean water for over a quarter million people every day.

In the three years that CIS 6th graders have been inspired to raise money for WFSS, they have raised over $35,000.  Salva Dut will be visiting Kings Junior High since the current 7th and 8th graders participated in #ReadWalkWater, as well as the 6th graders at Columbia Intermediate and the Blue Ash Rotary.  At 6:30 p.m., in the Columbia Intermediate cafe, there will be a community presentation and meet & greet.  All community members are welcome to attend.  CIS knows that the fundraising efforts of the sixth graders couldn’t happen without the generosity of the Kings District’s families and friends.  A special thanks goes to Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson, who gave generous grants two consecutive years.  

Linda Sue Park published A Long Walk to Water, which tells Salva’s story, in 2010.  Along with Salva, the book follows Nya, a fictional character based on all the children who have to walk miles each day to bring back clean water to their villages, and their stories intersect in an amazing way.  This inspiring novel has sold over one million copies.  Park recently recorded a TEDxBeaconStreet Talk in which she asks “Can a children’s book save the world?”  In it, there are two photographs featuring Columbia students in this year’s Walk to Water and the well their fundraising efforts built in a village in South Sudan.  At the end of the talk, Park answers her own question with the answer, “No!  But the young people who read them CAN!”