The last day for the most recent round of Schools for Schools was Friday. The original goal my CE 10 class set was $20,000 in 45 days. As of Friday afternoon, our total was around $15,500. Not bad for 25 kids.
Throughout this adventure, I have experienced amazing things, beyond what I could have ever imagined.
Our Schools for Schools campaign, was conceived and driven entirely by the initiative of students. There were three or four adults on the margins, helping when necessary, offering advice, when asked, and coaching them in places because of their inexperience.
One of my favourite stories, is of a student who shockingly defied all my expectations, reaching far outside of his comfort zone. A few weeks ago, we held a dinner and auction. I expected that one of our more outgoing students would canvass local businesses for donations. It wasn’t. Instead, it was one of the quietest and shyest male students in our class who volunteered. He went to almost 50 businesses, and found a beautiful array of donations. Amazing.
Last week we held a barbeque at the school to raise money. The students cooked, took orders, and dealt with the money. Unfortunately, it was also -20. Out of two barbeques, they had half a barbeque that worked. And in the end, we cooked almost 200 hamburgers and hot dogs. It took two and a half hours.
At one point, I could see that the girls working the front line were starting to feel overwhelmed because of the wait. It was only then that I stepped in to talk them through what needed to happen next. At one point, one of my students looked at me and said, “This is terrible. People are waiting. Things aren’t going as planned. We didn’t expect this.” I simply looked at her and said, “Have you ever planned a wedding? You’re going to need these skills.” And we got through it. Can anyone say learning experience?
I have seen my students do amazing things. They’ve worked hard. Stretched. Gone far beyond their comfort zones. But it gets better.
Let’s pick up again with Friday afternoon. One of the local radio stations, CHAB, began broadcasting that our school was at a little over $15,000 dollars, and we were short of our goal. CHAB has been one of our biggest supporters throughout this. They asked people to donate. And they did. People went on-line to donate. Some came into the school. One person came in bringing a sizeable donation.
By 9:30, we were at $19,000.00. But it gets better.
Invisible Children was running a live stream of the wrap-up celebration it was hosting at its headquarters in San Diego. Some of my students were watching it.
The people at headquarters in San Diego began asking people watching, via the live stream, to donate to our school, so that we could reach our goal. These are people we have never met. I wonder how many of them had to Google Moose Jaw?
The people in San Diego were shocked that such a small group could raise that much money, in so little time. You have to understand, we live in a city that has 35,000 people, and that might be including pets. I’m guessing some, from larger metropolitan areas, probably wouldn’t consider us a city. But we’re from the Prairies, and we have heart.
More people began to donate. And, as the total went higher, the people in San Diego chanted, “Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw.”
When we finally hit $20,000 the crowd in San Diego went wild. They burst into “O Canada” Okay. Not actually all of O Canada. The first line. Over and over. Hey, it’s fine. I only know the first line or two of the American anthem. And that somewhere along the line there are bombs bursting in air. It’s the thought that counts
During this, not only were students, and one of our teachers watching the live stream, they also communicated with the people in San Diego through face book.
Our final total — $22, 824. Wow.
This has been an absolutely unforgettable experience for me and my class. None of us will ever be the same. I’m guessing most people didn’t think 25 kids could raise that much money. But kids often defy expectations, if you give them the opportunity.
My students have learned the power of believing in yourself. Of choosing hard things and pushing through, despite the odds, to accomplish them. They’ve learned the goodness of people, and helping those you’ve never met because they were treated to that experience themselves Friday night.
They’ve learned that they’re part of a global community. That technology makes a difference. And that they make a difference.
Some people don’t want to be the change that they see in this world. I do. If that’s the only thing I pass onto my students, I will be satisfied.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed
citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.