UV English students take a “Long Walk” to better understand a modern classic

Unadilla Valley 7th grade English students recently got to experience – at least in part – the signature activity in a New York Times best-selling novel.

The students in Katie Wolford’s class emulated how 11-year-old Nya walked eight hours a day for water for her family in the book, A Long Walk to Water. The novel is based in Sudan in 2008, where it follows Nya’s story, and also in 1985, where it follows an 11-year-old boy, Salva, a refugee traveling across the African continent on foot. It’s a story of perseverance, hope and survival.

Wolford’s students were tasked with taking empty boxes and traveling around the school campus to find a cache of water jugs, which they then had to return. They walked about a mile as they looped around the campus, discovered the jugs and retrieved them.

They also made clay cows to simulate an activity that Salva did with his friends for fun.

“We did this so we could understand what Nya went through. I felt really different after that because at first I thought it was going to be easy, but it wasn’t,” said student Natalya Schreg.

They also made clay cows to simulate an activity that Salva did with his friends for fun.

“I felt tired after we did it. I don’t know how Nya did it. It took some work and it was very hot. We should do it again. Maybe do something for Salva,” student Annie Rogers said.

Students hold boxes on their heads

Students mold clay