“The teacher that had the most tickets in their bucket at the end had to do the chicken dance in a chicken costume! And the winning teacher was our principal!”
Albany Community Middle School in Wisconsin sounds like a great place to learn. Last winter as part of a combined Science, Social Studies and Art project focused on Africa, 5th and 6th graders organized a fundraiser to support a local charity and an organization supporting Africa. The students’ efforts yielded $752.45, half of which was sent to Africare. We recently spoke with three 6th graders, Nathaniel, Ivy and Haley, to learn more about how they pulled it off.
Could you describe how the fundraising event got started?
We decided to do a project for charity, so we looked up a bunch of different charities and we voted. We selected one local charity, and because our project was on Africa, we picked one charity that supported Africa. We picked the Green County Humane Society – they help animals in our area – and we picked Africare.
I learned from your teacher that the students did practically everything to plan and run the fundraiser. How did you organize everything?
We had different committees that were responsible for different parts of the event. The Welcoming Committee recorded attendance and collected donations. The Food and Beverage Committee provided food and drinks. The Marketing Committee publicized the event and told people when and where it would be. The Budget Committee figured out different things we could do to raise money. The Entertainment Committee decided on fun things to do to raise money. The Auction Committee planned and ran the silent auction. And an Audio/Video committee took pictures and video footage of the event for later press releases. All these committees picked an executive who met with the executives of other committees to make sure everyone was on the same page.
I saw some of the photographs of different things you did to raise money, and it looks like the silent auction sold art projects.
After our art teacher helped us get started, we made the art projects ourselves, and they were African-themed. We wanted the whole area to be an African-themed room. We weren’t able to make all of it that way, but we tried. For example, we had a photo booth where people could take pictures in front of an African background with African animals, which was another art project.
We also worked with partners to look up lots of different information about different countries in Africa and made displays on tri-fold boards that were placed around the room.
Cool! One thing Africare likes to show people is how Africa isn’t just one big country. It’s actually a whole lot of different countries and cultures. What were some of the countries and issues you researched?
We each had partners, and we researched Djibouti [Nathaniel], São Tomé and Príncipe [Ivy] and the Democratic Republic of the Congo [Haley]. We researched environmental issues like desertification and deforestation, and we researched social issues like the spread of diseases and how in some countries like the DRC, people are being physically hurt. We found that most of the social issues came from the fact that Africa as a whole, per family, doesn’t have the best income compared to other countries, and that affected every country we researched. But there were definitely differences in the countries we researched. For example, Djibouti had a higher income than the DRC.
One of the charities you supported was in your home-county, but Africare helps people that are far away. Is there a reason you chose to donate to Africare?
Well the project was on Africa, but we felt that we could be useful and help some of the things going on in Africa.
How did your fundraising event go?
One hundred twenty people attended, and along with the silent auction we had lots of different things to raise money. We had a basketball shootout where people could pay one dollar to shoot some hoops, and the person who made the most from free-throw-range got one-half of the proceeds. We also brought in food and beverages to sell. People paid 50 cents for a picture from the photo booth, and we emailed them their pictures. And another thing we did was, three teachers had their own bucket, and you could pay a dollar to put a ticket in a bucket. The teacher that had the most tickets in their bucket at the end had to do the chicken dance in a chicken costume! And the winning teacher was our principal!
Amazing! Do you think people were targeting him?
Yes! And he’s new!
It sounds like it was a great event. Now here’s the last question. It’s any easy one. Are you three excited for summer?
How do you think they answered? Your faithful reporter conducted this interview with only a pad and pen (after all, 92 cents of every Africare dollar goes to programs in Africa), so I wish I could have more accurately recorded which student said what during our conversation. Sorry Nathaniel, Ivy and Haley! But thanks so much for taking the time to explain your project to us, and thanks to you, your classmates and your teachers for all you did to support Africare’s mission!