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
Bernalillo County seeks help at the jail
ABQnews Seeker
Commission approves emergency resolution to deal ... Commission approves emergency resolution to deal with staffing shortage
2
Petroglyphs defaced outside SF
ABQnews Seeker
La Cieneguilla site dates back 8,000 ... La Cieneguilla site dates back 8,000 years; 10 works damaged
3
NM reports 3,354 new COVID cases; 25 deaths take ...
ABQnews Seeker
Health officials say the new variant ... Health officials say the new variant not as lethal as previous ones
4
The price of a pothole
ABQnews Seeker
Bad roads are costing us thousands ... Bad roads are costing us thousands in vehicle upkeep
5
Canine search-and-rescue group seeks volunteers
ABQnews Seeker
Nonprofit is looking for handlers, navigators ... Nonprofit is looking for handlers, navigators and base camp operators
6
New Mexico lawmakers propose $1 million for 'baby boxes'
ABQnews Seeker
Proposal would increase options for parents ... Proposal would increase options for parents who want to give up their babies
7
Social Security tax bill stalls in first House committee
ABQnews Seeker
Backers: Measure would bolster economy, reduce ... Backers: Measure would bolster economy, reduce burden on NM seniors
8
Space tourists in NM may face taxing situation
ABQnews Seeker
State wants to place levy on ... State wants to place levy on pricey tickets
9
Dems introduce elections bill with bit less heft
ABQnews Seeker
Straight-party voting out, but other sweeping ... Straight-party voting out, but other sweeping changes backed by gov.