The Christmas Spirit
At this time of year, there is always the same mixture of feelings at 5959 Broadway. There is stress about upcoming finals, excitement for Christmas break, and a little holiday magic. That magic is seen in seniors Blake Jagielski and Rylee Horn, who really showed us what the holidays are all about.
Every year, Andrean students are allowed to dress down for Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. This is usually an opportunity for Andrean kids to dress a little more casually, a little more warmly, and show some Christmas spirit at the same time. This year, the leaders of the Interact Club, Blake and Rylee, decided to take advantage of this tradition to do some good. In order to dress in their ugly sweaters, students had to pay $2. The privilege of wearing non-uniform bottoms cost another dollar. All of the proceeds went to La Rabida's Children's Hospital in Chicago.
Originally, the members of Interact Club wanted to travel to the hospital and spend time with the kids; unfortunately, they were not able to because of disease control.
"We still wanted to do something for the kids so that they can have the best Christmas possible," said Rylee. Along with raising over one thousand dollars on Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, the club also made Christmas cards that they sent along with the check.
You might think that Andrean kids would complain about having to pay three dollars just to be able to wear jeans, but if anything, they were more eager to help. They proudly sported Santa hats and reindeer antlers, content with the knowledge that they were helping some people less fortunate than them. Often, this time of year does not quite feel like Christmas because of the impending doom of finals, but this tradition had students singing "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas."
As for Blake and Rylee and other Interact Club members, there is no feeling better than the one after you help someone else. They felt like they were able to make a difference in some of those children's lives.
"We hope that these cards and the check will make some of these children and their families have a Christmas that is a little bit brighter," said Rylee.
$59k in One Day
On November 29, 2016, Andrean tackled its most ambitious one-day fundraising goal in its history. The goal was $59,000, and not only did Andrean meet this goal, it went above and beyond with an amount totaling over $108,000.
Giving Tuesday is a rising movement in social media. It takes place annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday. All around the world, people are urged to donate on this day. Mr. Dan Buckenmeyer, the new director of development at Andrean High School, knew about this movement and thought that it was something the Andrean community could really get involved in.
"It’s social media based, so I thought students would get behind it," he said. "I wanted it to be more of a student-driven campaign."
According to Mr. Buckenmeyer, students were the most effective part of this fundraising campaign. In the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday, students wrote letters to friends, family members, and local businesses asking them to support the students' education by giving. While many fundraising efforts are focused on alumni, this day was really aimed at the students' loved ones. Buckenmeyer knew that potential donors would be inclined to give to help these students receive a great education.
The funds from Giving Tuesday are essentially going straight back to the students in the form of extracurriculars.
"There's a gap between what tuition at Andrean costs and what it actually costs to provide an Andrean education," Buckenmeyer explained. That gap is closed by fundraisers exactly like Giving Tuesday. That money goes toward everything beyond classroom learning in core classes, including a kiln for the art department, new cheerleading uniforms, and new sound and lighting equipment in the theater.
"[It goes toward] those things that help students at Andrean become more well-rounded and ready for college and life."
There was some doubt that this could really be done. A lot of students were skeptical about the lack of incentive to donate, but more students believed in the effort than the ones that didn't. Those students made $59k in one day a reality.
"I give every ounce of credit for all of the success that happened for students who participated," Buckenmeyer said. "I put a lot of faith in the students here at Andrean and they blew it away."
That just goes to show that when united, Niners are capable of achieving anything.