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beth rickers/daily globe Fulda High School students (front, from left) Maddy Westra, Michelle Hart, (back, from left) John Getting, Sabrina Raddle, Scott Cowan, Aaron Tiesler and Matt Thier hold some of the items purchased through the Raider Times holiday fundraising project.

Fulda Students get creative to raise money

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FULDA -- The Raiders of Fulda High School have raided their own pockets in order to make the holiday season a little brighter for some local children.

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For the last several years, the Raider Times student groups, which take the place of homerooms, have purchased gifts for less-fortunate families. The students come up with fundraising schemes, implement the ideas, and their efforts are matched by at least $50 through a grant from Wal-Mart.

"What I like to see is the unity and teamwork involved," said Marcine Elder, a family and consumer science teacher at Fulda High School who coordinates the holiday project along with business teacher Sharon Carroll. "I like to see the Raider Times using their creativity to work together, the camaraderie, and getting the big picture of 'we' versus 'me.'"

Some of the fundraising ideas are more successful than others.

"Our group had two plans," related Michelle Hart, a FHS junior. "Our first plan was where the kids could come in and shoot baskets for $1 -- a layup, a free throw and a three-pointer -- and if they made it, they got a bottle of pop. But then our choir sang during the noon hour that day, so we didn't have good luck."

"So then we went to Plan B," added sophomore John Getting.

"We had everyone pay 50 cents for open gym during the noon hour," Hart continued. "That went really well, and we raised our goal."

Another Raider Times group recycled a fundraiser that was successful in previous years: Hat Day.

"We had Hat Day on a Friday. You paid $1 and could wear a hat the whole day," explained senior Sabrina Raddle. "There were quite a few random hats -- a quacking hat that made noise, a Mohawk hat, a sombrero."

Each Raider Times group, numbering about 30 students, fills out a sheet explaining its fundraising plan, to avoid duplication of efforts.

"We made and sold ice cream sandwiches over the noon hour," said Maddy Westra, a sophomore. "We had people from our group donate buckets of ice cream, and some people made the sandwiches, and some sold them."

At $1 for each ice cream treat and several varieties available, the students achieved and surpassed their goal in eight days, raising $87.

Once the money is raised, representatives from each group also do the actual shopping.

"When the children are identified, their most-needed items are identified first," explained Elder about how necessities such as clothing, boots, shoes, hats, gloves and slippers are often at the top of the lists. "But none of the bags goes out of here without some sort of toy, even if clothing is on top of the list."

Junior Scott Cowan was the designated shopper for the members of his group, who raised their goal through a free-will donation process.

"We made our money, and they matched it, and I got told to spend it all -- $104," said Cowan.

Cowan, who comes from a male-dominated family, included Hot Wheels among his purchases, remembering what he liked at that age.

"I was shopping for two boys," he noted. "Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to do it alone."

Eighteen bags of holiday gifts are now en route to their intended recipients, confidentially delivered by adults. With this year's fundraising accomplished, the students were already beginning to think about how they can improve and expand upon their efforts for next year.

"I would say we have 100 percent participation from our student body in one way or another," noted Elder. "Whether they helped to raise the money, paid to play in the gym or were eating ice cream, they all participated. ... This is our way of showing the community we can do something for other people, too."

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Beth Rickers
Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  
(507) 376-7327
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