The response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti tops the list of Harker’s recent outreach efforts. Students, teachers and parents joined forces at all three campuses to fund ongoing efforts to provide food, medical supplies and shelter to the victims of the January temblor in Port au Prince, the tiny country’s densely populated capitol.
The Bucknall Student Council and the Gr. 4-5 Spirit and Service Club helped organize a hot chocolate and donuthole drive in January, earning over $3,000. Several lower school teachers and staff donated funds to offset the costs of food and drink to further enhance profit margin.
“Our student body truly outdid itself with its generosity and concern displayed throughout our fundraising effort,” said Kristin Giammona, elementary division head Gr. 4-5. “It is heartwarming to witness and be a part of such an outpouring of care and monetary support.”
Similarly, middle school students participated in Coin Wars, a friendly grade-level competition to make a difference. The organizers asked students to donate pennies and nickels for Haitian relief. The class with the largest number of one- and five-cent coins in their collection earned the most points. The effort, won by the class of 2015, raised a total of $3,100 in ten days.
Although they planned their fundraising and blood drive months in advance, members of the upper school Red Cross Club adapted their efforts to benefit Haitian relief. The annual blood drive collected over 80 donations from eligible students, faculty, staff and parents. While donations will likely be used locally, the collection helps offset blood donations elsewhere that will be sent to Port au Prince.
In another Red Cross effort, students emptied their pockets of change in a competition to slime the class dean and class presidents at the weekly school meeting, prompting generous contributions. The mounting piles of coin attracted daily attention in Manzanita Hall, and playful challenges by the deans and presidents to stuff the jars of their competitors added spice to the contest.
In the end, the sophomores were victorious, resulting in class dean Matt Harley and class president Revanth Kosaraju suffering a sliming worth $1,137. In total, the slime contest earned $1,983, an amount complemented by bake sales and pretzel-grams which earned $274 for a total of $2,267.
“We thought that it would be great to offer the Harker community an opportunity to assist Red Cross Haiti relief efforts during our week,” said Red Cross Club president Alex Han, Gr. 12. “We put our best efforts into raising awareness for the cause and making our fundraisers original and exciting, whether through selling handmade pretzel-grams or having a dean and class president get slimed.”
In late February 18 upper school students spent half a day removing non-native plants from the Arastradero Preserve as part of a project by Acterra, an environmental nonprofit in Palo Alto. “The weather held and everyone enjoyed working together; we got a lot done,” said Kerry Enzensperger, director of upper school community service. Harker students were involved in a variety of other activates geared toward helping the community as well.
Gr. 3 students collected new pajamas and books for needy children in the U.S. and elsewhere. Over 330 pairs of pajamas and 677 books were collected. “All of the third graders were encouraged to participate by bringing in books or pajamas,” said Joe Connolly, dean of students K-Gr. 5. “We had two third graders present the donations to Pallie Zambrano, co-president of the Northern California Chapter of The Pajama Program.”
On Martin Luther King Day, an official Congressional Day of Service, Colin Goodwin, Gr. 4 English teacher, organized a group of about 30 Gr. 4-5 students and parents to work with Save the Bay, planting native trees and grasses at the Eden Landing Ecological Preserve in Hayward. “On our day of service we planted something like 300 plants,” said Goodwin. “This was my first year organizing this project, and I hope to do the project again next year .”
Upper school Key Club members organized a drive for denim in January, collecting lightly-used jeans for homeless teenagers worldwide.
The class of 2011 held its annual toiletries drive, collecting hundreds of personal hygiene items for distribution at local homeless shelters. Similar efforts are mounted by lower school English teacher Pat Walsh and middle school librarian Bernie Morrissey on their campuses.
Lower school students authored and sent valentines to U.S. marines serving in Afghanistan.
Members of the middle school Peace2Peace Club will transform donations of lightly used toys, electronics and games into funds for daycare in India via a garage sale over spring break. The program allows older siblings who would otherwise be forced to stay home, to attend school regularly.
Upper school girls and boys soccer teams raised over $3,000 through T-shirt sales and donations for cancer research at their January doubleheader.
The middle school Service Club gathered new and gently used winter coats to benefit the local organization InnVision (www.innvision.org), which helps Bay Area families and individuals who are homeless or struggling financially.
Math instructor Peggy Crisler challenged middle school advisories to provide Christmas gifts for families through Kidango, a Bay Area nonprofit child development agency.