Cambodia school project exceeds expectations

By Kellie Petersen 2009

The Cedar Falls School District has been putting a lot of effort into the project begun by the high school Amnesty International chapter to build an elementary school in Cambodia.

Since late February, the main efforts have been focused on fundraising, which has reached an estimated $9,000 to $9,500 after last weekend’s efforts.

The total needed to build the school is $15,000, and the Amnesty group had initially hoped to reach $7,000 of this by this time.

“Well, it’s definitely exceeded everyone’s expectations—even ours,” Moussavi said about the fundraising process.

This impressive start to the fundraising process would not have been possible without help from many groups at school and people throughout the community.

“We’ve had a lot of support, far more than we had anticipated, both from the community and the school,” senior Amnesty International President Sheila Moussavi said.

Moussavi said that many people have come forward to organize fundraisers independently, as opposed to earlier in the process when Amnesty was responsible for the fundraising.
One of these fundraisers includes the “Kickin’ It for Cambodia” 5K walk/run that was organized by Student Senate.

The 5K walk/run took place on May 5 at George Wyth State Park. A total of 78 people were registered to run, with a total of 67 people actually participating. Just registering also proved to be beneficial considering the $15 pre-registration fee, or the $25 fee to register the day of the race.

CFHS guidance counselor and Student Senate faculty adviser Ryan Flaherty explained that the group of eight students that planned the 5K walk/run were one of four Student Senate groups that were given $100 to do a service project of their choice.

The group of eight students—that included seniors Lisa Zanotti, Ashley Minikus, Chelsea Jehle, Lesley Thompson, Kallie Thompson, Stephen Miller and Elliot Tensen as well as junior Summer Anderson—raised the most money and were the only group that chose to partner with Amnesty and the Cambodia school project for their fundraiser. The 5K walk/run was highly successful, profiting $2,000. Of this $2,000, $1,433 was raised through race registration while $625 was raised from sponsors. Cedar Heights Elementary School also donated $500 from its personal fundraising projects for the cause.

Flaherty said that he thought that the 5K walk/run went fantastically and was a great success.

“They worked really hard, and I think a lot of their work paid off,” Flaherty said.

Another upcoming fundraiser that will go toward the school in Cambodia is the spring choir concert.

The choir concert on May 21 is a regularly scheduled concert for the choir, only this time they have chosen to give all of the proceeds from ticket sales to Amnesty for use in the Cambodia school project. Tickets will be $4 for students and $5 for adults, with no activity passes accepted.

CFHS choral director Kendra Wohlert said that she wanted the ticket proceeds to go to the Cambodia school project because it was a worthwhile cause. Wohlert also said that she was proud of Cedar Falls High School for having an Amnesty chapter. She said that she could like the concert to generate $500 for the Cambodia school project.

The concert will be at 8 p.m. in the CFHS auditorium. It will feature the mixed chorus, concert choir and cantuse singers. There will also be a special men’s ensemble organized by senior choir member Andrew Clopton. The men’s ensemble will sing the song “Lullaby” to commemorate the Cambodia cause.

“It was nice of him to think of a special commemoration to the cause,” Wohlert said. Along with choir concert, there will also be an art show in the lobby.

The art show features student art from all areas of the art department. It is primarily a fundraiser for Art Club, but any extra art that is donated will be auctioned off to benefit the Cambodia school project.

“Our hope is that we will have enough artwork to help with Art Club and the Cambodia schools fund,” CFHS art teacher and Art Club faculty adviser Christopher Shulte said.
Yet another fundraiser to be mentioned is the Cedar Heights penny drive organized by Senior Leadership.

“Oh, I just really hope that we could get all the schools in the district behind this idea,” CFHS English teacher and Senior Leadership faculty adviser Diane Flaherty said.
Flaherty also said that she thought the Cambodia school project was good for the school and the community.

There are still many more fundraisers to come. Amnesty has been organizing a raffle that will be announced at the choir concert on May 21, and they will host a party in the auditorium for the season finalé of The Office on Thursday, May 17. The group is also planning an end of the year show at the Boathouse.

Amnesty’s original fundraising goal for the year has been $7,000. It is clear that they have far exceeded it, and much in part to the assistance of other people and groups.

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