Jewell Cardwell

Teachers can’t always be certain their lessons are getting through to students.

Fortunately, Charlee Raddish, sixth-grade social studies teacher at Green Intermediate School, doesn’t have that problem.

Her students became so passionate about her unit on Africa that they decided to do something to make a real difference. Raddish had shown the students photos shot by a friend who had traveled to a remote village, documenting conditions there.

“One thing that really grossed out the kids and caught their attention was the poor water quality, and the distance people had to walk to retrieve water,” Raddish shared. “We then discussed how if you were old or disabled that it would be difficult to walk several times daily. Many people are then forced to drink very contaminated/muddy-looking water.

“Simultaneously in language arts, students read a story called Ryan and Jerry and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together by Herb Shoveller,” Raddish continued.

“As a result of this information, in many of my classes students wondered why no one is helping these Africans because water is something we take for granted. As a class, we discussed what kind of things we could do to help. Many students wanted to just send water to them. I told them that would eventually run out and told them that ‘to give a man a fish, he eats for a day, to teach him to fish, he can eat for a lifetime.’ So, I told students to search online to find organizations that provide water assistance in Africa.”

Eventually, they decided they would help raise money for the World Bicycle Relief Organization “since it not only provided bikes to retrieve water, but the bike would give them transportation to school, for medical assistance, and allow them to be mobile around their village.”

The students went to the student council meeting and ran ideas by the principal about what might be an appropriate fundraiser. Bake sales and the like were turned down because they competed with the cafeteria’s business.

So the students decided they would sell water — Water for Africa Water!

They embraced the campaign in a big way. One student asked his grandmother, who works for Acme’s North Canton store, to get involved. The store donated 1,000 bottles of water.

Then students came up with the idea of selling the water with flavor packets; another student found a good deal on them and he and his family purchased them, Raddish noted.

“The students made announcements for every day of the week. They made signs and volunteered to come to school early to sell the water. To see the kids at Green Intermediate eager to buy the water and so many donating generously was truly a joy. It took the whole school to make this possible. To date, we have about 30 bottles of water left and we have made $815. The students have elected to buy a mechanic in Africa to fix and repair the bikes in the field (when needed), purchased four bicycles and donated the rest.”

World Bicycle Relief is most active in Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya.

“I’m so proud of their determination and passion to make such a project possible!” Raddish said.

So am I. I’m sharing their names and giving them a public nod for doing their part. Please join me in applauding the main deciders: Alexis Barrickman, Ryan Black, Nicholas Chapman, Lindsey Collins, Anthony Disabato, Camden Diver, Ian Fuller, Maxwell Gangl, Kyle Heim, Megan Hellenthal, Kamille Helm, Cameryn King, Trent Kingan, Abigail Kussow, Holly Liptak, Kylee Malcolm, Dominic McClung, Zakary Miller, Trent Montgomery, Drake Nicely, Kaleigh Renninger, Henry Riccitelli, Zachary Roach, Renee Robinette, Logan Rockich, Tiernan Smith, Hunter Uhl, Kyle Vernyi, Anne Zivick and Maria Zivick.

Spaghetti for a cause

Tallmadge Lutheran Church, 759 East Ave., Tallmadge, is sponsoring “Spaghetti for a Cause!” 5 to 7 p.m. Friday.

The event, hosted by the church’s Mission & Outreach team, will benefit tornado victims in Ohio and Indiana. Cost is $7 adults; $4 children under 10.

Help Akron see film

Akron Public Schools officials are urging the community to support Bully, an anti-bullying documentary.

Akron, like many other U.S. cities, is vying for a special screening. It has until Friday to add votes in an effort to bring the movie to the city.

“The movie will travel to the 10 cities with the most votes,” writes Merle Bennett Buzzelli, a bully prevention specialist for Akron Public Schools. “The city with the top number of votes will also win a visit by director Lee Hirsch.”

As of Monday Akron ranked fifth.

“Hirsch,” Buzzelli continued, “has directed a heartfelt movie about the effects of this behavior. It will leave all who see it with a new perspective on how important it is for us to address this behavior in our community.”

To vote to bring the special screening to Akron and learn more about the problem, watch the trailer at When voting, click “Akron” and use ZIP code 44308. Deadline is 3 p.m. Friday.

St. Hilary council helps

Big, beautiful bouquets to Fairlawn’s St. Hilary School’s student council and the fundraising effort it’s advancing Friday on behalf of the Akron Area YMCA’s Partners with Youth program, specifically its Child Care branch.

Debbie Sinopoli, the school’s marketing director, said the idea behind the benefit “is to keep working parents working.”

“Beth Kelley, executive director of the child care branch of the Akron Area YMCA, told student council members at its meeting March 21 that money raised will be used to fund scholarships for families who cannot otherwise afford child care services,” Sinopoli continued.

“According to Mrs. Kelley, this allows working parents to continue working, when they might otherwise have to quit work and seek public assistance due to lack of means to pay for child care. The YMCA is one of the largest child care providers in the U.S.”

Students will raise funds with a $1 donation for the privilege of dressing out of uniform for the day.

First recipient of award

Hats off to Lynn Werbecki, a Tallmadge resident, social worker and a transition coordinator with Uniontown’s Area Agency on Aging, who has been tapped as the inaugural recipient of the “Caring More” award for social workers.

The award gives $500 to the recipient and $500 to the nonprofit of her choice (March of Dimes, Northeast Ohio Division). It was created by Crossroads Hospice as a way to honor unsung heroes of the health care field and will be presented Thursday at Prestwick Country Club.

Werbecki is active with March of Dimes and Akron Pregnancy Care.

Longtime librarians retire

Congratulations to Ann Heiselman and Liz Hightower, new retirees from Akron-Summit County Public Library with more than 104 years of combined service.

Here are a few highlights of their incredible careers.

Ann Heiselman began working in 1953 as a shelver at the Wooster branch, leaving in 1957 and returning in 1963 as a part-time clerk at what’s now called the Odom Boulevard branch. She was promoted to part-time Library Assistant 1 in 1969. That position has since gone to a 2. “As far as we know, Ann is retiring with more years of service than any other staff member,” said Carla J. Davis, the library’s marketing communications director. “Ann is leaving after almost 52 years of service, all in the same branch. Her retirement is effective March 31.”

Liz Hightower was hired in 1961 as a Clerk 1 in the children’s department office, the same position she held until her last day March 1. “As far as we know, Liz is one of only two employees who have over 50 years of service. She has worked in three locations of the Main Library.”

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or emailed at