Skip to main content

Walnut valley Unified School District

ALLmeansALL! Walnut Valley USD is proud to be a National Schools to Watch District with numerous National Blue Ribbon, California Gold Ribbon, and California Distinguished School awards. Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!  

Castle Rock Students Fundraise For Uganda Hospital

NEWS                                                              Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          880 S. Lemon Avenue
February 16, 2011                                          Walnut, CA 91789

Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204

Gifts of Love, Gifts of Life

DIAMOND BAR, CA-- Castle Rock Elementary School fifth grade students are fundraising to help a hospital in Uganda, Africa.  

On Saturday, February 12, students hosted a car wash and bake sale that raised $1,000 for medicine and tests for the hospital. 

They are currently organizing a rummage sale to be held on Friday, March 4, from 2:45 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the school located at 2975 Castle Rock Road in Diamond Bar. 

Donations are being accepted and must be dropped off by Thursday, March 3.  Anything not sold will be donated to a local charity.

The fifth grade students learned that a former Castle Rock student, Joel Miller had worked in a Uganda hospital that housed thousands of children during the 23 year-long civil war in the Northern area of the country.  

During the civil war, Uganda’s Children used to live in fear of being abducted from their homes and forced to become soldiers in the war-torn country.

Miller is currently completing a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) Degree at Harvard University School of Public Health. His work in Uganda was part of a program on health and human rights.  He will return for his 4th year of medical school at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit Michigan next year. 

His mother, Diana Miller, a former teacher at Castle Rock, now heads up the Walnut Valley Unified School District GATE program.  She mentioned her son’s work to Castle Rock 5th grade teacher Nicole Rodgers during a GATE meeting.

When Rodgers shared the story with her Castle Rock GATE students, they immediately decided they wanted to do something to help. 

“It quickly blossomed into an entire 5th grade action plan that correlated with their planner Diseases are Catchy,” said Principal Jackie Brown.  Castle Rock is an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme school where students are taught to be global inquirers and citizens. 

“Some people in our class have studied diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and typhoid. And we found out that people in Africa are dying from them,” said fifth grader Pilar A. 

“But we can cure them here,” added student John Dempsey. 

Teacher Nicole Rodgers was impressed with the students’ quick call to action.

“I’m very proud of my kids. They took the ball and ran with it!” she said.

The 5th graders reached out across the globe to learn more about the country and its children during a high-tech Skype discussion with Miller on February 9. 

The young inquirers gathered in the multipurpose room for the conversation and asked many questions about life for the children in Africa – including what kinds of diseases, who was he treating, and what do the kids for fun?

“Their eyes lit up when they saw Joel on the screen,” Rodgers said.  The conversation also opened the possibilities that if a Castle Rock student could go to Harvard Medical School, then maybe they could too, she said.

Teacher Lori Stokes said as the kids were counting money from the car wash, they were also counting how many lives they would be saving.

“They’ve really taken this to heart,” she said about the student-driven project. 

When students learned that it only cost $10 for a complete surgery at the Lacor Hospital in Uganda, her students said, “I have that in my piggy bank!”   

They began donating their own money for the project. And when one girl brought in $20, Stokes told her, “You just saved two lives!”

The flu is so preventable over there, but they are dying from it because they don’t have medicine,” Stokes said.

“We feel pretty good that we’ve saved about 100 lives,” Dempsey said.

“But we’re not done yet!” Pilar added.

The students are now talking about adding a new action plan to fundraise for the purchase of nets to prevent malaria in Uganda. The life saving supplies only cost $2 each.   

When Castle Rock students learned from their Skype conversation that children in the Ugandan village didn’t have any sports equipment, they decided to send basketballs, jump ropes, and soccer balls. 

“We want to make the children happy,” John said.


On February 12, Castle Rock Elementary 5th grade students held a car wash and bake sale to help a hospital in Uganda, Africa.  The fundraiser brought in $1,000.

Students gathered in the school’s multipurpose room for a Skype conversation with Harvard Medical School student Joel Miller who worked in a hospital in Uganda.