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8th grade students donate end-of-year trip money to help the Navajo Nation

The Week logo The Week 6/8/2020 Catherine Garcia
a large brick building with a mountain in the background: A school bus in the Navajo Nation. © AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster A school bus in the Navajo Nation.

The eighth grade class at the Waldorf School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, found a different way to celebrate the end of middle school, donating the money they raised for a rafting trip to help the Navajo Nation.

Their trip was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the students didn't want to let the $2,800 they raised go to waste. Parent Jess Falkenhagen knew that the Navajo Nation has been hit hard by COVID-19 — in May, they had more coronavirus cases per capita than in any state — and the money could go far there. She spoke with Navajo leaders to find out what supplies were urgently needed, and then got to work collecting the items, from diapers to medicine to cans of soup to water.

Falkenhagen drove with her daughters, Daisy and Indie Russell, to Window Rock, Arizona, to make the delivery on behalf of the eighth grade class. Their teacher, Daisy Barnard, told CNN she is "very proud of my students, but I'm not surprised. This is a very generous and compassionate group of teens. They have been raised to think outside their own immediate lives and it shows in moments like this."

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