AIKEN—St. Mary Help of Christians School took their name to heart and embarked on a fundraising campaign that netted over $3,000 to help the victims of Haiti’s earthquake.
They were joined by dozens of other Catholic schools, whose students all did their part to follow Jesus’ example, helping their brothers and sisters in need.
Peggy Wertz, principal of St. Mary, said the generosity shown in this effort far exceeded anything they have done in the past.
“Everyone just stepped forward,” she said. “It was the right thing to do to help these people.”
The total amount raised by the school was $3,292.60.
Wertz, who spoke to The Miscellany by phone, said she thinks one reason they were so successful was because teachers employed lesson plans on Haiti, showing the children the huge discrepancies between the United States and the impoverished nation.
Everybody dug a little deeper. The bake sale that usually nets about $70 brought in $353.65, which Wertz matched. The collection at Mass was $1,219.46, and on dress day, when the 217 students typically pay $1 each to ditch their uniform, they paid double and triple that amount on their own initiative.
“It was very much worth it to me,” Wertz said. “It was very motivating.”
Other schools sent e-mails to The Miscellany, and here’s how they helped Haiti.
St. Gregory the Great
At the Bluffton school, students were asked to bring in 100 pennies on the 100th day of class, and they challenged other schools to do the same. Sister Canice Adams, principal, said they don’t have a goal in mind, but added that the amount raised will be matched.
The school’s student council sponsored a bake sale for Haitian relief. Donated baked goods such as cupcakes, brownies, cookies and Rice Krispie treats, were sold for 50 cents each. The students raised $153 and donated it to Catholic Charities.
Roseann Tracy, principal, said the Charleston school is collecting money for Catholic Relief Services. They created a bulletin board with pictures of the Haitian people, and a rising thermometer to keep track of the funds. As of Feb. 2, they had over $700. A representative from each class will present their donations during the offertory at Mass.
“What I think is significant is that the children were not offered a ‘carrot’ to bring in their money. They were asked to just give out of the generosity of their heart,” Tracy said. “You cannot look at the pictures coming out of Haiti and not be moved. We wanted the children to realize that we have many blessings and we should share them just for the sake of sharing.”
St. Paul the Apostle
Teachers and students at the Spartanburg school have a special connection to Haiti. Kristen Zeiler, an alumna, is teaching at the Louverture Cleary School. See related article here.
Principal Patti Lanthier said the St. Paul students are pen pals with the Haitian students, and when Zeiler was home recently, she visited the school and spoke to the youth.
“We are praying for our pen pals!” Lanthier said, adding that Zeiler flew back to Haiti prior to the earthquake. “We will be keeping in touch and helping as she guides us.”
Students and teachers at the small peninsula school are reaching out in a number of ways, including prayer.
Fred McKay, principal, said they will have a representative from Water Missions International come to the school and explain how they bring safe water to people around the world. In March, April and May, all TAG-day donations will be used to help Haitians, probably through the water program. Also, a number of teachers, parents and students will participate in the Walk for Water on March 20 in Charleston.
On the 100th day of school, faculty and staff sponsored a bake sale with the theme, “100 Ways to Give to Others.” The James Island school specified Haiti as their cause. The goal was to raise $100, and they brought in $170.55, according to Patti Dukes, principal.
In Columbia, with an enrollment of just over 100, the students at St. Peter collected more than $1,100.
Pamela Ahearn-Chalfant, the fifth grade homeroom teacher, said her class organized the collection for the earthquake victims.
They informed their schoolmates of the devastation, made posters, and sent literature home to parents. Then, armed with buckets, the children stood in carpool line every day for a week and collected money and prayer cards to send to Catholic Relief Services.
The Beta Club students at the Columbia school held a bake sale that raised $320, said Donna Fosmire, spokesperson. Also, the third graders pray each morning to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, who is the patron saint of Haiti.
Debbie Wilfong, a kindergarten teacher at the Myrtle Beach school, initiated a Valentine’s project asking each student to write their name on a heart and tape $1 to it. All the hearts, and money, will be given to CRS.