This article was originally published in the summer 2013 Harker Quarterly.
More than $8,000 Raised by Annual Cancer Walk; Harker Community Goes the Extra Mile During Walk to Raise Money for Camp Okizu
Students, faculty and family members recently put on their walking shoes for the seventh annual Harker Cancer Walk. The successful schoolwide effort netted more than $8,000 for Camp Okizu. “This will give many young cancer patients a fantastic opportunity to go to camp!” said Cindy Ellis, middle school head. “I know they will also enjoy the many decorated Frisbees from the middle school students while at camp.” The symbolic stroll was held in late March at Blackford. Supplementing cash donations were sales of T-shirts, water bottles, Jamba Juice, baked goodies, temporary tattoos and wrist bands, all of which were sold by volunteers.
The “biggest cancer walk poster ever” was hung on the amphitheater wall from March 25-29 and stood 8 feet high. Advisories also made small, honorary flags for those who have survived or passed away which were then placed in the ground along the walking path.
“The Cancer Walk is truly an effort of the community that I have grown to cherish at Harker,” said Michael Schmidt, organizer, who teaches middle school computer science. “Thank you again for our seventh amazing Cancer Walk.”
Upper School Student Creates Unique Math Program for Children
Like many teens, Urvi Gupta, grade 11, maintains a jam-packed schedule, yet she makes time to give back to her community by providing free math tutoring to K-3 kids at local libraries in San Jose using a unique program she created called OneInMath. The program teaches youngsters simple ways to add, subtract, multiply, divide and understand concepts quickly for math success.
“I designed the free volunteer-run program from the ground up, defining its purpose, goals and developing materials, including 1,862 math problem sheets, teaching instructions, learning videos, program format, volunteer instructions and the logistics of running it,” said Gupta, who teaches as well as independently manages the overall program.
She currently supervises more than 150 kids and 27 high school volunteers across three libraries using the program, which was implemented in November 2011. Now, the popular OneInMath classes – which utilize video instruction in addition to faceto- face volunteer tutoring – have both students and parents excited about learning mathematics.
Gupta was recently honored as Volunteer of the Year from the entire San Jose public library system for her dynamic math program and volunteer efforts. The top honor began with a nomination from local librarian Vidya Kilambi, who had been impressed with Gupta’s program for some time. As a result of her efforts, aside from all the children her program has helped, Gupta received a commendation on June 11 from the City of San Jose for her efforts.
Students Raise Record Amount for the Humane Society
Life just got a little easier for animals at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, thanks to the efforts of the school’s grade 1 community service project.
The students showed their love for the shelter’s displaced rabbits, dogs and cats by collecting monetary donations, buying needed supplies and making toys for distribution to the shelter.
“We raised about $900 (a new record) and collected more than 80 bags of toys, supplies and food for the animals,” reported the students’ homeroom teacher, Cindy Proctor, who oversaw the project. In addition to monetary donations, items for collection included animal treats, collars, litter, toys, clean blankets, sheets, towels and comforters.
“We would like to express our thanks for the tremendous support and generosity of our Harker families for participating in this project. The donations continue to come in, and we are extremely grateful,” said Proctor.
Blood Drive to Help Remedy Local Blood Shortage
At least 100 locally-based hospital patients desperately in need of blood will be helped, thanks to the annual Harker Blood Drive held at the upper school campus in March.
This year’s successful drive resulted in the collection of 44 total pints, which will benefit the Blood Centers of the Pacific, a nonprofit organization that supplies blood to Northern California hospitals, doctors and patients.
Thirty-nine Harker students, faculty and staff members gave blood at the drive, which was organized by the Red Cross Club, with five people donating double red cells.
GEO Week Raises Funds to Build Schools Overseas
By Zach Jones
The Global Empowerment and Outreach (GEO) student club held its annual GEO week in mid-March, raising nearly $1,000 for Pencils of Promise, an organization that works to build educational programs in poor areas of the world. Some of Pencils of Promise’s efforts include building schools, training teachers and providing supplies. The organization has already completed construction on 110 schools, and 14 are in construction with plans for at least four more.
According to Amie Chien, grade 12, GEO president, the cost to provide a year’s worth of education for a child in one of these areas is just $25. “A pair of jeans from Express is easily $25, a week’s worth of Starbucks every morning, about the same. If we were to give up a little luxury for a week, we could easily find $25 lying around,” she said.
Five Seniors Recognized by National Charity League for Thousands of Volunteer Hours
On March 16, Michelle Douglas, Cristina Jerney, Emily Wang, Amy Grace Wardenburg and Molly Wolfe, all grade 12, were honored by the Heritage Oaks Chapter of the National Charity League, Inc. NCL is a philanthropic organization that fosters mother-daughter relationships through community service, leadership development and cultural experiences. Over the past six years, the five seniors have logged hundreds of volunteer hours (often with their mothers) at many local organizations including the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity – Silicon Valley, Humane Society of Silicon Valley, InnVision, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Sacred Heart Community Services.
In addition to these awards, Wardenburg has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for volunteering over 100 hours in a calendar year for all six years she has been volunteering, and Wolfe and Jerney have also each received the award in the past. Wardenburg will also be receiving the Senior Service Award, which is given to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative philanthropic hours earned during her years at National Charity League.
Senior Honored by Stanford for Volunteering
Senior Leslie Chan was awarded the Stanford University Medical Center Auxiliary Scholarship in May in recognition of exemplary service and contributions to the C-1 Unit and Junior Volunteer program at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics.