Wauwatosa 5th Graders Join Together for Change

Inside the aging walls of Wilson Elementary, 5th grade teacher Michael Block asked his students a simple question; What's one thing inside the building you'd like changed?

The students crafted persuasive essays, all surrounding one problem, the school's water fountains.

      "Have you ever had to kneel at a drinking fountain for a cold drink only to find out that the water is warm and dirty?" asked Maddie Wojcinski. "Well, the kids at Wilson do it every day. This is why we need our bubblers changed," 

Others like Javi Caceres were more direct.

      "The water's gray and dirty and has an irony taste, disgusting right?" he said. 

The essays were sent to District Superintendent Phil Ertl, who surprised the students with a visit, hoping for a first-hand look at the issue the students were so passionate about. His response? New water fountains are on the way. 

      "I think what the kids brought to my attention was how important it was to them," says Ertl. "I hope it carries through and they understand that even as a 10 or 11 year old, that their word does mean something." 

Brock hopes the students take the lesson and bring it outside the classroom. 

      "I think it's a great lesson to kids that you can make changes, no matter what age you are." 

Share this article: