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The recent natural disaster in Haiti has inspired a massive movement at Downey High in which all have collaborated in an effort to raise money for donation, sending the focus over other main events under the suffering shadow of Haiti.
An intense goal of $10,000 required the participation of all who attend, work, and like Downey High School. All rose to this immense challenge by donating or even leading one or more of at least 10 creative fundraisers focused entirely on helping Haiti. Principal Tom Houts announced a meeting for students eager to go the extra mile for the Hope for Haiti committee.
“It kind of blew my mind that at the impromptu meeting held by Houts, a lot of kids-more than thirty-showed up,” said Senior Class Vice President Alex Galindo. “It was more that I thought would come.”
The strong participation of students in the fundraisers for Haiti led to the question of whether this movement would lessen the motivation to help out in other large events, such as the annual Pennies for Patients fundraiser. However, when considering what would motivate students more to help out in the case of a natural disaster versus cancer, a group of students replied that a natural disaster such as Haiti would give others a stronger incentive to take part. One student who summed up the group’s opinions was DHS sophomore Alissa Weisenburger.
“I think because the Pennies for Patients fundraiser has been around longer and we haven’t really seen much come out of our efforts-like an actual cure for cancer, students might want to help out more when it comes to a natural disaster because we know that we are helping out right away,” Weisenburger says.
Along with the involvement of students in leading the Hope for Haiti fundraisers, teachers have also played a significant role by inspiring and supporting. Boxes collecting shoes in the “Soles for Souls” fundraiser were kept in each English teacher’s room and extra credit was given out to provide an even greater incentive to donate. One such teacher showing support was English instructor Josette Bean, who agreed with the gist of Weisenburger’s statement.
“I think most students’ response is a passionate response,” says Bean. “DHS has always had a very sincerely generous attitude and it’s hard to feel compelled to help for some sense of future result. There’s a disappointment that there hasn’t been an immediate result, but we see suffering that we can remedy immediately and we want to do that. It’s hard to be patient.”
Although it may be understandable for students to feel more inclined to help out in an immediate disaster, such as the destructive earthquake in Haiti, ASB maintains a hope that these many fundraisers will not hold too much of a negative effect in the future, for instance, when it comes to Pennies for Patients or other main events in need of funds at DHS.
“On ASB’s part, we’re working hard and doing a lot of things,” says ASB President Liz Calvillo. “This is training for Pennies for Patients and they’re two different causes so I think, hopefully, kids will continue to be involved.”
Published: January 29, 2010 – Volume 8 – Issue 41