Sudan Lost Boy John Dau Visits Danforth

     Published on   Tagged under:    District News   

Written by:
Nhy'ere Scanes and Adir Lawrence (Danforth 7th Grade Students)

On Thursday, December 18, 2014, John Dau came to our school to talk to us about perseverance. John Dau is the director of the South Sudan Foundation, which builds medical clinics in his home country. Mr. Dau told us the story of his life. He had to walk for a very long period of time. In one of his horrific adventures, he had to cross a river full of crocodiles. Also, on the side the river there were rebels shooting at John Dau and his group! I bet it was a very terrifying moment for him! But John and his group were still walking and pushing through the difficult obstacles. And did I mention he was the tallest in his group? So that caused him to be made the leader of a group of other boys even though he was only 9 years old. I was very grateful for him to come and talk to us about perseverance and he has given me the inspiration to feel like I could get through anything and feel invincible.

In connection with the John Dau visit, there was an essay contest on the theme “Perseverance”. There were 10 finalists and 3 winners. The 10 finalists were: Lania Whatley, Luis Rivera, Nhy’ere Scanes, Jarrod Gables, Jean Hautingimana, Terrel Carter, China Hosea, Ramadan Aden, Kiamesha Cotton and Rukia Mkoma. While all 10 wrote outstanding perseverance essays, only 3 won the prize: Kiamesha, Rukia, and Ramadan. The prize was recognition at the Winter Talent Showcase, a gift card, and a surprise pizza lunch with Dr. Reeves!

The visit from John Dau was paid for by a grant from SCSD Educational Foundation Grants Program. The seventh grade teachers wrote the grant to give the kids in our grade an opportunity to hear from someone who has experienced real struggle. As part of the grant, we also got clay and other supplies to create artwork to auction and raise money for John Dau’s foundation. We had a lot of fun doing cool art, but we almost had a disaster! Ms.Burke, the art teacher, bought the wrong type of glaze and the pots came out chalky instead of glossy! So Carlissia Ford and I, Adir Lawrence, had to save the day. We had to go to the kiln room and paint over the clay pieces with the right glaze. After that, we put them back into kiln and fired it up!!! Then we were ready for the auction.
The auction was held the night of the Winter Talent Showcase which was attended by many parents, teachers and community members. Many people wanted to buy the clay pieces and people were trying to outbid each other for the clay pieces. The teachers did the same for their students’ clay pieces to show them in their class. The art auction was very successful; we sold exactly $200 dollars. We gave that money to John Dau for his Foundation.

The way that I felt, personally, about making clay pieces and putting them in an Art Auction for charity is that I felt like I did something for the people of Sudan even if it’s a small contribution. Other people most likely felt that way too about doing this. Also making the clay pieces was exciting, just from rolling it into a ball, to glazing which is a type of painting but with a more dry colorful paint. If I could, I would want to make another batch of clay pieces, this time for my family and me.