Seventh grader Cecelia Cellini was concerned with more than playing during recess one weekday afternoon. Instead, she busily collected students’ signatures who were as frustrated as she with the quality of the computers in their school’s computer lab.
The result culminated in a “St. John 2007 Calendar” which has raised more than $10,000 to date for St. John Catholic School, Westminster.
Cecelia, 12, and five other seventh graders explained their mission and presented their idea during a November PTF (Parents, Teachers, Friends) meeting. Classmates Jessica Warren, Emily Masimore, Patrick Markovic, Parker Bell, and Cooper Bounds participated in the presentation.
“They wanted something creative, fun and a tremendous help financially,” said development director for the school and parish, Colleen Hattrup. All agreed that the project would have to be accomplished on students’ time.
An anonymous donor bequeathed the school $2,000 (and later upped it to $3,000) to challenge the students to handle the entire project alone.
“It’s a success story all along,” said Mrs. Hattrup. “They had to do a Power Point presentation all by themselves including creating and describing it.”
Once the calendar project was underway, the student committee involved the entire school by launching a school-wide art contest. Participants had to create computer generated artwork to represent each month.
The committee selected the winners, with seventh-grader Zach Berger winning placement on the cover with his illustration of an eagle surrounded by a green and yellow border representing the school’s mascot and colors.
Other students and parents were asked to sponsor days on the calendar with anniversary and birthday wishes, business plugs, and other messages.
“Andre Bearzi is 8 today!” reads the Jan. 29 space; July 30 reads, “Good luck at the fair, Cooper!” and March 14 reads “Pi forever!” Many photos are included with the messages.
Computer lab teacher Susan Lakomy said she is very proud of the students. “It’s different instead of the same old fundraiser. They wanted to use technology to raise the money, not just have a bake sale or a car wash; not that trivial.”
Better than anyone, she understands the students’ motive for wanting an upgrade of the computer lab. To put it into perspective, she said, the school’s computers are running on Windows 98, more than six years old. Thirty-five new computers are needed.
“We had a parent who has come forward to say his business would donate a computer for every other computer donated by another business,” said Mrs. Lakomy. “That’s something we’re working on now.”
Purchasers of the calendar have already asked if the school would be launching the same fundraiser next year. “We hadn’t intended on this becoming an annual project but it may become one,” she said.
To order a St. John calendar for $15 each, call the school, 410-876-7228.