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South Valley Journal

Oquirrh Hills Middle School Gives an Important Gift to Students Across the Globe

Jan 27, 2016 09:09AM ● By Aimee L Cook

By Aimee L. Cook | [email protected]

South Valley - Oquirrh Hills Middle School students are changing lives of students in Africa by getting them water close to home. During the holidays, the school raised $28, 975 for the non-profit organization, Hearts and Hands of Humanity, that will be used to provide a man-powered drill that can tap into clean, fresh water. The new drill will be placed outside of a rustic classroom, so that students have access to fresh water.

“The students at OHMS worked hard to raise money throughout the entire month of December,” Eve Barlow, eighth-grade student body officer, said. “We held school activities to raise money.  ‘Pie’-ing an SBO, karaoke day, Leatherby’s Ice Cream, Krispy Kreme donuts, candy grams, t-shirt sales and various contests. The SBO’s also caroled in front of Petersons and held several dinner nights at many restaurants around Riverton, where a portion of the money raised went to “Oquirrh Fest [fundraiser].”

According to the Hearts and Hands of Humanity, the design of the drills was co-created by a group of BYU student engineers. The man-powered drills are capable of drilling down 250 feet to access fresh water, and are strong and easy to use. 

“I think this year’s Oquirrh-fest was a great success, not only in the amount we raised but in helping students to become global citizens,” Travis Braun, Oquirrh Hills Middle School teacher, said. “This was a great opportunity to talk to students and teach them about life and culture in a country halfway around the world where people a lot less fortunate, and they are struggling with some very basic life necessities such as drinking water. I think a big reason why we were so successful in raising so much this year was because the students and the community saw the importance of this charity, and they opened their hearts and wallets in a big way.”

In addition to providing water, drilling the wells will also provide jobs for the people in the community in Ghana. 

“The experience helped all of us to know that we could make a difference in the world.” Eve said. “It helped us to know that life is bigger than ourselves.  Many students agreed that they loved raising money for a cause that would truly make a difference in helping others to have clean water that we have so easily.”