In developed nations, the biggest frustration with water is often the tap taking too long to heat up. But for people who live in developing countries, simply obtaining drinkable water is a daily struggle that requires a six-kilometer walk per day, on average.

On May 18, the Davies Middle School community will do that trek on their behalf through its Walk for Water, the proceeds from which will go to nonprofit Plan, USA to help pay for a well in Burkina Faso, Africa.

Principal Stephen Santilli, who helped organize the first walk last year, said it's valuable as both a service for those less fortunate and a lesson for Davies' students.

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"These kids just don't have the same basic necessities that we take for granted, and it kind of shows that to our students," Santilli said. "These individuals need to walk basically four miles a day just to get clean drinking water, so it kind of puts that into perspective."

The Walk for Water consists of three components: a 6K run beginning at 9 a.m., a 1ΒΌ-mile walk beginning at 9:15 a.m., and a 1-mile fun run for kids beginning at 10 a.m. Registration for all three races is 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., and they will take place rain or shine.

Last year's walk, which was run in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul Regional School in Mays Landing, raised about $4,000, which covered the cost of a well. This year, Davies, which is running the event solo, hopes to match that total.

In addition to the races, refreshments will be for sale, and several community vendors will have booths on the school's grounds.

JB Sports Timing owner James Brown, who graduated from Davies in 1993, offered the use of his state-of-the-art timing equipment at a heavily reduced cost as a way to increase the legitimacy of the race in the eyes of competitors. He said he was glad to help his alma mater.

"I'm very proud of the cause. It's helping out people who can't get what they need," the Mays Landing resident said. "My biggest thing was to help the school out, help them make the race grow bigger."

Following the races, Davies will hold a celebration of its 25th anniversary starting at noon. There will be artifacts and memorabilia from throughout the school's quarter-century history on display, and a time capsule sealed in 1987 will be opened.

The celebration also will serve to showcase the school's facilities and equipment, which include its serenity pond, gardens and classroom technology like projectors and netbooks.

The school has invited former staff members and students who have moved away from Mays Landing to stop by.

Literacy coach Becky Garofalo, who has worked at the school since it opened, was part of the committee that helped plan the event. She said she's excited to see some familiar faces.

"We're looing forward to seeing people we haven't seen in years," she said. "It's not only to celebrate our school, but to reunite with some of our past colleagues and friends and students."

To become a Walk for Water sponsor or vendor, call Kris Ellison at 609-476-6100.

Contact Braden Campbell:


If you go


Davies Middle School's Walk for Water and 25th Anniversary Celebration


May 18, walk 7:30-10:30 a.m., anniversary noon-3 p.m.


Davies Middle School, 1876 Dennis Foreman Drive, Mays Landing.

How much:

$20 for 6k, $15 for walk and $10 for kids run. Anniversary is free.

More info:

Call Stephen Santilli at 609-476-6241.


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