Eighth graders donate to Navajo Nation - Albuquerque Journal

Eighth graders donate to Navajo Nation

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Daisy Russell, a Santa Fe Waldorf School eighth grader, loads water jugs to be delivered to the Navajo Nation. (Courtesy of Jess Falkenhagen)

Eighth graders at the Santa Fe Waldorf School sold pizza and burritos for two years to raise money for a class rafting trip on the San Juan River in May.

When the pandemic hit, their trip was canceled. So the 18 students agreed to use their $2,800 to buy essential supplies for the Navajo Nation.bright spot

Waldorf School eighth graders bought food, medicine and other supplies for the Navajo Nation.

“I hadn’t seen my students excited about something in a long time, but they were really excited about this idea,” said teacher Daisy Barnard. “These are really sweet kids, and it was just second nature to them to do something like that with their money.”

Jess Falkenhagen, mother of eighth grader Daisy Russell and three other Waldorf students, first suggested the idea about donating the class trip money.

“I had been wracking my brain as to how me and my kids could try to make an impact,” said Falkenhagen, who has a background in indigenous rights and anthropology. “It wasn’t practical or safe for the class to gather together and collect items, so we agreed to take it on. We asked the Navajo Nation what items were most needed.”

With the class money, the family bought nonperishable food, toilet paper, disinfectants, thermometers, medicine, baby formula and diapers. They also filled dozens of five-gallon water jugs.

Jess Falkenhagen and children Esme Russell, Django Russell and Indie Russell load a rental van with supplies for the Navajo Nation.

After packing a large van “to the brim,” Falkenhagen and eldest daughter Indie Russell set off from Santa Fe to the Navajo capital of Window Rock, Arizona.

“This wasn’t a sightseeing trip, but as we passed Acoma and Laguna pueblos we were able to think about the effects there,” she said. “When we got to the reservation, it was really striking to see the big signs and billboards in Diné telling people to wear masks and warning about the virus.”

In Window Rock, Navajo Nation government employees and volunteers helped unload the supplies at a donation warehouse.

Indie Russell, who just finished 11th grade at Waldorf, sewed face masks to include with the donation.

In Window Rock, Arizona, the rental van filled with supplies purchased with class trip money from the Santa Fe Waldorf School eighth grade class. (Courtesy of Jess Falkenhagen)

“I know it was just a small thing that we did, but we tried to do something,” Russell said. “I am privileged to go to a great school and have lots of opportunities. I feel like I can either say, ‘Why am I so lucky when other people aren’t?’ or I can ask myself, ‘What I can do with what I have to make things better for others?'”

The students’ good deed hasn’t gone unnoticed. Barnard said a man who heard about the donation contacted the school and offered to pay for the rafting trip when restrictions are lifted.

“I’ve seen a lot of beautiful aspects of this rising generation come out during this time,” Barnard said. “None of these students said, ‘No, we want that money.'”


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Firefighters tackle warehouse fire in NW ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque Fire Rescue responded to a ... Albuquerque Fire Rescue responded to a blaze at a warehouse in the early hours of Friday morning in Northwest Albuquerque. AFR, in a release, ...
2
NM's record-high revenue projections keep climbing
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's sky-high revenue projections for ... New Mexico's sky-high revenue projections for the next year shot up again Friday as state economists shared their latest findings at the Capitol. They ...
3
Broad coalition urges support for PNM/Avangrid merger
ABQnews Seeker
After PRC meeting, AG Balderas concerned ... After PRC meeting, AG Balderas concerned about commissioners' impartiality
4
Sandia Prep junior sings her way to Carnegie Hall
ABQnews Seeker
Sofia Chalamidas hopes to attend college ... Sofia Chalamidas hopes to attend college at either New York University or Carnegie Mellon, and become a professional singer
5
DA’s lawsuit seeks GPS data for defendants on pretrial ...
ABQnews Seeker
District Attorney Raúl Torrez on Thursday ... District Attorney Raúl Torrez on Thursday sued the administrator of the 2nd Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, alleging that court officials are violating the ...
6
State to require booster shots for some workers
ABQnews Seeker
More than 2,000 new COVID cases ... More than 2,000 new COVID cases reported Thursday
7
Hot air balloon 'menorah' to be lit Sunday
ABQnews Seeker
Event marks the last night of ... Event marks the last night of the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah
8
BioPark releases minnows into Rio Grande
ABQnews Seeker
Part of endangered species recovery efforts Part of endangered species recovery efforts
9
Governor adds stimulus spending to session agenda
ABQnews Seeker
Legal clash over the handling of ... Legal clash over the handling of the funds poised to intensify as Lujan Grisham accused of spend