Students across the Cherry Creek School District saw the utter devastation caused by the Marshall fire, which hit Boulder County on Dec. 30. They saw neighborhoods much like their own burned to the ground. They saw children their age who were suddenly homeless.
“After the tragedy struck, we felt like we needed to do something together, something that would really make an impact,” said Chelsea Asibbey, a junior at Eaglecrest High School and a member of the EHS Student Council.
When winter break ended on Jan. 4, the group presented a fundraising idea to their school’s activities directors, Michelle Whittet and Melissa Laferrara, who is also the Student Council sponsor. They offered guidance, support and willingness to try to take the project districtwide.
“We got our activities directors to communicate with all the other activities directors in the district and they were all on board. You could tell that everyone was very eager to help,” said EHS senior and Student Council member Noah Vieyra.
Knowing the need in Boulder County was urgent, the EHS Student Council joined forces with the student leadership groups at all of CCSD’s traditional high schools to put together a districtwide fundraiser on Jan. 12, which was less than a week away. The students created posters, flyers and graphics for social media. They encouraged students and staff across the district to wear Colorado gear and bring in monetary donations on Jan. 12. High schools came up with a plan to collect contributions during each school’s advisory period. Middle and elementary schools joined in with a variety of fundraising ideas from “hat day” to “penny wars.”
At the end of the day on Jan. 12, and for several days following, student council members collected the donations from their own schools and from the middle and elementary schools in their feeder area. That’s when they began to get a sense of their project’s success.
“I went out and collected the bags we had passed out to classrooms during advisory and it was just really shocking to me,” said Austin Wells, a freshman and EHS Student Council member. “So many people had put in so much money. The bags were just filled with cash, and it was amazing to see how our whole school had contributed to help out the people who were affected.”
The same thing happened at schools across the district, Wells said. “Everybody in the whole community was helping out, not just Eaglecrest. It was all the schools in our district.”
In all, more than $57,000 was collected and will be donated to the Community Foundation of Boulder County – Boulder County Wildfire Fund.
“It showed strength in numbers, quite literally, but it also showed that a team is going to get more done than an individual would,” said junior and EHS Student Council member Jakye Munley. “It was really powerful to see all of us come together and work toward a common goal effectively. That was beautiful to me.”
Fellow EHS Student Council member Abagail Popp, a junior, agreed.
“No matter how different we are in each of our schools, at the end of the day, we’re one district. Seeing everyone come together for one cause – it was amazing!” Popp said.
Contributed by Anna Osborn Dolan, communications coordinator, Cherry Creek Schools.