Tuesday, May 24 , 2016, 10:20 pm | A Few Clouds 56º

Cate Senior Uses Grant to Provide Clean Water to Village in Native Country

By Rebekah Altman for Cate School |

Cate School senior Joshua Yaro had access to clean drinking water at his middle school in Old Akrade, Ghana, but he was keenly aware that right outside the school grounds, not everyone was so lucky.

So last summer, with help from a Mark Metherell ‘87 Service Challenge award, Yaro returned to the village surrounding Right to Dream Academy to install a water system accessible to all residents.

During his time in the area, located in the southeastern region of the country near the banks of the Volta River, he worked with the village chief and a handful of locals to set up a tank that holds filtered water gathered from the river. The system is the same as the one used at Right to Dream, and advice from staff there helped in preparing for his project.

In the three weeks it took to accomplish the task, Yaro and his team of helpers, including Cate alumnus Gregory Cusack, class of 2012, obtained materials, dug several miles of trench and, with the help of a plumber, laid the pipe and connected it to the holding tank. The tank runs to three pumps placed in different locations around the village, and is maintained in Yaro’s absence by a village resident who also helped with the construction.

Right to Dream is a program based in Ghana that helps underprivileged youth with academic promise attain higher education. The school aims to “raise leaders in Ghana who will eventually go back to our communities and give back to make it a better country,” Joshua said. “This was a chance to go back and show what I can do for my country.”

Director of Admission Charlotte Brownlee was one of the first people at Cate to speak with Yaro, and recently met his family on a trip to Ghana. His impulse to be of service comes as no surprise to her.

“The concept of giving back is deeply embedded in his character,” Brownlee said. “The Metherell Challenge was an amazing opportunity for Joshua to make a distinct improvement for the people who used to be his neighbors.”

The grant that funded Yaro’s efforts was established during Cate’s Centennial Campaign and was named for Mark Metherell, Class of 1987, who died in Iraq while training and supporting Iraqi Special Forces. Metherell had been a Navy Seal, but was in Iraq as a civilian at the time of his death. He was involved with public service while at Cate and often spoke of helping those less fortunate so they could help themselves.

To honor his memory, family, friends and classmates at Cate created the Mark Metherell ’87 Service Challenge. The memorial fund annually awards a $5,000 stipend to a Cate student to help underwrite and make possible a public service project of his or her own design. Volunteerism, potential for benefit to others, and vision are the major criteria for selection. The project doesn’t have to be in their native country, but they do need to demonstrate an understanding of the task and a realistic plan for its upkeep after their departure.

“Some students might ask, ‘Why would I want to spend my summer doing something so hard?’” Yaro said. “Trust me, you might be helping others, but you’re helping yourself more than you’re helping those people. And that is something that gives me hope every day I wake up.”

This summer marks the fourth year students have been making a difference in Metherell’s honor. Funds from the Mark Metherell ‘87 Service Challenge have provided Cate students the resources and opportunity to work in an orphanage in Thailand, build an urban playground in Korea and create children’s libraries in Mumbai.

Yaro views the grant as one in a series of gifts he has been given throughout his life, and a chance to give something back.

“Sometimes you have to go out of your way to help others,” he said.

All Cate students are eligible to apply. The application deadline was Jan. 25, and a winning candidate will be named by March 1.

— Rebekah Altman is the advancement and communications assistant for Cate School.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.