Students raise money for worthy cause
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
“We want to raise money to help get houses rebuilt so people don’t have to live on the streets,” said Liam Gerleman, Mt. Pleasant Middle School student.
Students at the middle school have gone above and beyond their regular academics to help those in need. This year, the middle school students focused on Washington, Ill., as the town suffered from a tornado last month. Last year, the students helped to raise money for the hurricane that occurred on the east coast.
“We began organizing the fund-raiser before Thanksgiving,” said Michelle Peterson, art teacher at the middle school and the teacher who helped organize the fund-raiser. “On Dec. 5, we sold our first brownies.”
The students want to help the Washington, Ill. school district, and the monetary donation will be distributed to those who are in need.
“At first, we talked about collecting backpacks and school supplies, but after I contacted the school, we decided on a monetary donation. They were overwhelmed with supplies and didn’t really have the room or the personnel to go through it all, so they said that a monetary donation was best,” said Peterson.
The group decided to sell brownies, collect pop cans and even take around change buckets, all designed to raise money for their cause.
“The buckets were called ‘Change for Change – Washington, Ill.,’ and we had two. We would take them around the basketball games and ask for loose change,” said middle school student Cami Cheney.
“Everyone helped. We were surprised at how many boxes of brownies we received. People donated the supplies as well, like the oil and eggs needed for the mixes. We even had staff members and students give monetary donations in order to purchase the supplies,” said Peterson.
Dawn Bodenham, according to Peterson, was a major help as well. Bodenham allowed the students to use her family and consumer living classroom to store the supplies and make the brownies.
“We are sitting at about $380 right now and we have the game tomorrow (Thursday) night to sell some more brownies. We chose Dec. 19 because it was before the holidays, and we hoped they would get it before then,” Peterson added.
In all, five advisory groups at the middle school helped to raise the money for the cause. They either helped make the brownies, sell them, collect pop cans or take the change buckets around at the games.
“We never forced anyone to help and they did what they were comfortable with. Some didn’t want to make brownies, so they counted the change or found something they could do to help,” Peterson said.
The fund-raising group raised $72 in one night selling brownies, which was above average as they usually raised $30-35 a game.
The school district in Washington, Ill. suffered a great loss during that tornado. According to Peterson, 1,000 homes were destroyed.
“They really appreciated all the help they received and they were still trying to figure out who was affected by the tornado. They didn’t even hold school the rest of the week after it happened, they were so overwhelmed, but thankful,” Peterson said of the Washington, Ill. school district.
Blake Geerts, another middle school student helping with the cause, said that doing this fund-raiser was fun.
“It was neat to see at the games because when the brownies came in, it was like a herd of elephants trumpeting in,” Geerts said laughing. “They loved the brownies and it worked out nicely.”
Cheney didn’t care for the buckets as much, because she found it harder to raise money that way. But selling the brownies was fun.
“I really had fun selling the brownies, because when you ran out and were waiting for more, people were crowded around and when the pan came, they were gone. It was just fun to watch,” Cheney said.
The students would stay after school until 4:15 baking brownies, and then go to the games to sell them. Sometimes, they were there past 5:15. The students then had to wash the dishes and clean up.
“We (the teachers) didn’t help them a whole lot. We helped them organize and then supervised. I did the dishes though,” Peterson said laughing. “But the kids really did this on their own. They baked the brownies, counted the change, took the buckets around and even filled in the chart, it was them.”
Overall, the students felt the experience was rewarding and they had a lot of fun during the process. The brownies will not be sold after Christmas break.
“It was for a good cause and we just wanted to help,” Gerleman finished.