The students then moved on to Merrick Avenue Middle School, and Molloy moved on to teaching other students and doing other social-activism projects with them, from sponsoring Haitian children to attend school to fundraising for UNICEF. In August this year, Molloy received a letter with news that she described as “surreal.” It began, “Dear Ms. Molloy and Friends at Levy-Lakeside Elementary School,
“Enclosed please find photos of the well that your donation helped drill. Your well is at Manyang Primary School, in Gogrial East County, Warrap State … Thank you for your support and generosity, which is now helping to provide fresh, clean water to people who desperately need it in South Sudan.” It was stamped with the signatures of Dut and another WFSS officer.
Asked how it felt to know that her students’ efforts had concretely improved the lives of impoverished people half a world away, Molloy said, “You know, it’s like here in your head, but when it becomes reality and you get to see that it really does make a difference in people’s lives, it’s — words can’t express how you feel.”
Rosen, now an eighth-grader at MAMS, was also stunned when she looked at a photograph of the inscription cut into the well’s metal exterior, “Levy Lakeside Elementary School Merrick, NY 13-4-2013.”
“I always saw pictures on the Internet of all the wells that [WFSS] built, and I never thought that I could make such a difference and have [WFSS] make one that I contributed to,” Rosen said.
Brooke Wasserman, another MAMS eighth-grader and former Molloy student, said she hoped the well would enable local children to attend school rather than spending their days trekking to and from faraway and contaminated water sources.
“It makes you feel really good about yourself because you helped someone and you kind of saved their life, because you gave them an education because they didn’t have to walk a lot of miles for water,” Wasserman said.