We've all heard the expression "put your money where your mouth is." Members of the sophomore class this year have done just that — in some cases, quite literally: their efforts to support the Embrace Possibility campaign have included sales of delicious home-baked goods and a "Pi Day" fundraiser in which students got to "pie" faculty members in the face.
That the money they raised goes toward student financial aid is, to use another turn of phrase, the icing on the cake.
The idea to get students involved in raising money for Embrace Possibility came to sophomore dean Nicole Moore as she reflected on ways students might integrate the 10th grade's Lead From Here focus — the "Leading with Others" competencies of empathetic, ethical, communicative, collaborative and culturally inclusive — into work that impacts the campus directly.
"Inspired by the momentum of 'Every Raven, Every Day,' it occurred to me that one way that the sophomores could communicate and collaborate while giving back to the Ravenscroft community would be through Embrace Possibility," she said. "Sophomore advisors pitched the basic concept to their advisees and allowed them to brainstorm ideas for fundraisers. Based upon their lists of potential events, advisories were paired, leading to a total of five fundraisers."
Students took the lead in organizing the fundraisers, promoting their plans and making sure events ran smoothly. It started with finding fundraising concepts students would be willing to pay to participate in. Students in Zoe Welsh's and Mary Beth Immediata's advisories, for example, sold students, faculty and staff the freedom to take a "dress down day" for $2.
Brianna McGarry '20, in Kalista Richardson's advisory, suggested the "Pi Day" event — held on March 14 to tie in with 3.14, the first three digits of pi — "because I thought it would be fun and students would enjoy it. Who doesn't want to pie one of their teachers or coaches in the face? It was a raffle. We charged $1 per ticket, and students put tickets toward the teachers they wanted the chance to pie. I got to pie my coach, Mrs. [Alison] Kelly, which was pretty funny."
Skylar Wiseman '20, who helped organize a Valentine's Day rose sale as part of David Kates' advisory, said, "From the beginning of the campaign I challenged myself to come up with new and creative ways to collect money that would really interest the student (and faculty) body as a whole. Students could buy roses to send anonymously to other students or teachers with thoughtful notes and positive messages. It is very rewarding to know that I was a part of something that was not only successful but will contribute to a better Ravenscroft community for the whole."
Martina Frederick '20, from Shayla Thomas' advisory, agreed, saying, "The most rewarding part for me was when people said how fun it was to get roses delivered — and also to see how many people actually ordered roses!"
In total, sophomore class efforts raised $1,082.45 toward Embrace Possibility's financial aid goal. But what participants got out of the it is worth even more.
"What impressed me were the many layers of leadership demonstrated in this experience," Moore said. "Students generated fundraising ideas and, from each advisory, leaders and followers arose. While some students were more comfortable taking a more overt leadership role — making announcements at morning meeting, sending email communications, manning the tables for bake sales, and so forth — others played significant roles behind the scenes."
Eleanor Campbell '20, whose advisory under Aaron Ashe went with what she called the "tried-and-true bake sale," was excited about the impact their contribution could have on Ravenscroft's future.
"I thought that it was really neat that we were doing this as a class. A lot of our parents have already donated to the campaign, but somehow donating as a class was different," she said. "Maybe, next year an amazing student will be able to join our class because of our efforts. In a sense, we're helping adopt a student into our class family."
At top, student organizers prepare whipped cream pies for the "Pi Day" fundraiser; above, sophomore advisory representatives present their fundraising totals to Philip Higginson, assistant head of school for institutional advancement; below, Upper School math teacher Kalista Richardson gets "pied."