One to the World is an initiative started by Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to help their students learn to think and act on a global scale. While many projects completed by Loudoun County students have thus far been purely hypothetical endeavors, Woodgrove High School and Harmony Middle School students Elyse and Aidyn Morris saw the program as an opportunity to make a real impact on the world by teaming up with Harmony Middle to support Taonga Preschool and Daycare. They proposed their idea to principal Eric Stewart in early 2016, and he immediately expressed his support for the program. He then connected the students with the 8th grade Civics department, namely teacher sponsor Thomas Casto, and soon Harmony’s involvement in creating a better school for Toanga was in full swing—everybody was excited to be making a real difference.
The eighth graders organized a competition between the grades to see who could raise the most money for Taonga, with a $3,000 goal (the amount needed to finance the building of a bathroom and storeroom for Taonga). By the end of the school year, students met the mark, raising over $3,000. The incredible part was that this was an entirely student-driven fundraising initiative. This was not the work of many teachers and parents, telling their students that they should donate money to help Taonga—this was the students seeing a need and knowing that they could help. It was truly a spectacular effort, and with the help of Harmony Middle school, the dozens of young students that are attending (and will attend) Taonga Preschool will receive the early education that is so important for sending them on the path of scholarly success. Their worlds and minds have been expanded, and, indeed, their lives have been changed.