An inspiration to others

Scholtens honored for work with Shower Strike

— Daily Freeman-Journal photos by Anne Blankenship Retired second-grade teacher Dawn Scholtens, second from right, was presented with an Teaching Inspiration award from Well Awareness Wednesday morning. Presenting the award were, from the left, Lindsey Reed, Jessica Sager and Sarah Evans, founder of Well Aware.

Well Aware, an international nonprofit that provides innovative and sustainable solutions to water scarcity and contamination in Africa, honored retired Sunset Heights second grade teacher Dawn Scholtens Wednesday morning with a “Teaching Inspiration” Award.

Since 2012, Scholtens and her second grade students have raised more than $22,000 to build wells and water systems in Kenya.

Scholtens has directed the annual Shower Strike fundraiser held at the school. Students raise money to help build wells and water systems in Kenya by pledging to not shower for an entire week. The students have been nicknamed the Sunset Stinkers and have had a well dedicated in their honor.

“While the students are raising money for Well Aware, they are also learning about places they have never heard of and people and circumstances they don’t know exist,” said Scholtens. ” I feel it is a crucial part of their education to learn that they can give even if they have little and that they can make a difference in our world. My hope is they will carry this into adulthood.”

Sarah Evans, founder and executive director of Well Aware, said the organization has been able to place wells in more than 50 communities in Kenya and Tanzania. She added that Well Aware also helped out in Texas, where they are based, following Hurricane Harvey. Before presenting the award, Evans gave a presentation about the program and how it has benefited the communities where wells have been built.

She praised the efforts of the Webster City students and Scholtens.

“There’s a hero in this room. Some people take a big chances so they can make big changes,” she said, as she introduced Dawn Scholtens, retired Sunset Heights teacher. “It’s because of Ms. Scholtens that you guys have been able to do Shower Strike for years. It’s because of her that all of these communities and children have clean water.”

“Dawn Scholtens is truly an inspiration who has inspired so many students both here and abroad,” she said.

“It’s so fun to be back here again. I’ve missed you,” Scholtens told the rows and rows of students in the audience.

She thanked all of the students for taking part in the Shower Strike event. She said had to convince then-Principal Chuck Bonjour and Superintendent Mike Sherwood that taking part in the Shower Strike was good idea.

“I want you students to remember two things — in your life, you’ve done something that’s made a difference to other people and I want you to remember how good it feels to do that,” she said, adding, “so that you will keep doing that the rest of your life.”

After the presentation, Evans and her crew met with the second graders who will soon be taking part in Shower Strike. This year’s event will take place April 22-28 and with students raising funds all across the United States, Evans said the organization’s goal for the year is $200,000.

For information on Shower Strike or the Well Aware programs, visit www.wellawareworld.org.


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