Five Seniors Qualify for National Merit Semifinalists

By Sierra Fang-Horvath, Feature Editor

//The Acalanes student body opened their wallets this month to help Haitian hurricane victims recover from the devastations of Hurricane Matthew, which raged September 8 through October 10.

  Acalanes Leadership conducted a coin drive for Haiti, taking place November 9 through 18. Students donated funds to help the people of Haiti put their nation back together after the destruction caused by the most devastating Caribbean Hurricane to occur in over a decade.

According to the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), Matthew swept through with merciless winds reaching 120 miles per hour, thus qualifying it as a Category Three hurricane.

  According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Matthew has rendered eighty percent of homes in the area most affected damaged or completely destroyed. In turn, the storm left nearly 176,000 Haitians living in shelters.

  An issue that was already present in Haiti, the overwhelming presence of the cholera disease, spiked dramatically following Hurricane Matthew.

  In addition to these issues, the Hurricane disturbed the education of hundreds of thousands of Haitian children across the nation, which Acalanes deemed a priority when it came to fundraising for this cause.

   “If every student at Acalanes donated a dollar, we could send 1,400 dollars over to Haiti, which would be really great towards helping them,” Acalanes Leadership teacher Katherine Walton said.

   To benefit education in the nation, Acalanes donated the coin drive proceeds through an organization entitled “Flying High For Haiti.”

    “The organization is mainly for helping the education program by providing funds,” Community Outreach Board member junior Cate Combi said.

   Students did their part by making contributions to one of the several money containers located around campus. The fundraiser doubled as a competition between the classes, so the freshman quad, front quad, and senior deck were all home to jars in which students could donate on behalf of their corresponding grade.

   “In order to raise the most money possible, we thought that we would host a coin drive with a competition between the classes. In an effort to bring back the spirit cup and spirit points, it presented the perfect opportunity for the coins drive to be for spirit points,” Combi said. “The coin drive was a class competition and each grade got one point for every dollar donated. We had four jars in the freshman quad, senior deck and front quad each day at lunch, each with one of the grades labeled on it.”

   Leadership has yet to reveal the grand total for funds, as well as the winner of the class competition. Yet in the end, regardless of totals and winners, Acalanes has done its part in making the world a better place.

   “I think it’s important to recognize needs that exist around the world, especially from natural disasters which are really outside people’s control,” Walton said. “I often think that people do have 25 cents or a dollar sitting in their backpack and if we collectively come together we can really make quite a large difference in a community that right now is really struggling to just put food on the table.”

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