Third-graders do their part for a global educational cause

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By Crystal Nelson

COMMERCE CITY — Students in Jolene Prieto’s third-grade class are learning they can make a difference in the world. Since the beginning of the month, students have been making donations to the Malala Fund to help girls around the world receive an education. 


The idea for the fundraiser came out of “In the news,” an assignment the class does to keep up on current events. Student Jordan Swearingen came up with the idea after learning how Malala Yousafzai was shot for standing up to the Taliban for her right to an education, and that Yousafzai has now created a fund to help girls around the world receive an education. 

Swearingen originally learned about Yousafzai from her brother, who brought a “Scholastic News” article about her to school. She liked that Yousafzai had the courage to stand up to the Taliban and after learning about the Malala Fund, she asked Ms. Prieto if the class could do a fundraiser. “It feels good to do something else besides just bringing in a report and reading it... it’s also fun to do something else in class for other people to look forward to,” she said.

Prieto said the fundraiser has been more successful than anticipated. She said they are selling candy bars in class and that students have brought in their spare change.

Prieto said as a teacher, she’s always looking to extend her students learning and that this was an opportunity to do that. She said sometimes trying to make a difference can become overwhelming or that students can be discouraged but that this class is different. 

“I feel like this class is one of the first in a long time that realizes that they can make a change in the world just themselves – that all it takes is one person,” she said. 

As of Dec 13, students in Prieto’s class had raised $44.09. Swearingen said her goal is to raise $50 for the Malala Fund and that her mom has promised to match the amount the class is able to raise. The fundraiser will end on Dec. 18.