By JEN COWART After years of hard work, the senior class at Cranston High School East has reached a historic goal. They have raised over $20,000 for organizing, on average, a fundraiser every single month for more than three years, including dine-outs,
After years of hard work, the senior class at Cranston High School East has reached a historic goal. They have raised over $20,000 for organizing, on average, a fundraiser every single month for more than three years, including dine-outs, sporting events, car washes and yard sales, dances and more. Thanks to all of their hard work and effort, they are able to offer their senior prom this spring free to all socially and academically eligible senior class students. The formal announcement was made to the entire senior class on Jan. 4 by senior class president Nicole DeAngelis.
"When we first found out we had reached our goal, I think, for many of us, our first thought was 'Finally! After four years, we did it!' and we all gave a big sigh of relief," DeAngelis said. "We had set this goal freshman year, but we really didn't know if it was going to happen."
According to faculty advisor Andrea DiCicco, she can't find anyone anywhere who has accomplished this same feat of providing a free prom ticket for every student.
"I've taken three classes through to graduation, I've Googled 'free prom,' and I can't seem to find anything anywhere," she said. "I'm really excited for them, they've been saying that this was their goal for years now."
Additionally, the class has joined in with previous years’ classes since the class of 2013 in working towards a goal of having enough money to purchase an electronic sign for the school. This year, that goal has been realized. Enough money has also been raised to leave a cushion amount in the account for the incoming class and a scholarship as well, and they were also able to provide 17 seniors with free yearbooks.
"This class has done a lot of great things and has started a lot of great traditions," DiCicco said.
The class council consists of DeAngelis as president, Tatevik Khachatryan as vice president, Alex Norberg as treasurer, Emma McDermott as secretary, and Erika Spitznagel as historian and has met regularly throughout the four years.
This history making for the senior class isn't over yet, though. There have been some "wait there's more" kinds of moments recently, as the class realized that not only had they reached their fundraising goal but they also had enough extra funds to pay it forward and help someone else with one of theirs, if they could just raise a little bit more money.
The class will be working with the A Wish Come True organization to raise the money needed to sponsor a local child who is battling a life-threatening illness. Two of the Cranston East faculty have personal connections to the organization and have had children who have received wishes from A Wish Come True. Founded in 1982, the organization grants wishes to local children ages 3 to 18 with life-threatening illnesses in Rhode Island and the areas of Southeastern Massachusetts, and average the granting of approximately three wishes a week.
With this new initiative, the senior class is ramping up their final months of fundraising in order to accomplish this goal, which will require anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the child's wish. The following events will be held as fundraisers towards this final legacy the senior class wishes to leave behind: February 10 bowling from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., at AMF Bowling, March 20, Pinkberry in Garden City, April 20 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mulligan's Island, and a final community car wash and yard sale on May 13. The group is also selling bracelets for A Wish Come True, and the funds from the March 2 dodgeball tournament will go towards this cause as well.
"The manager at AMF is allowing the group 32 lanes completely free to fill, and the class is only charging $15 for a team of three players to bowl one game, with each additional game costing just $8," said DiCicco. "We have had groups presenting challenges to each other, and we have had a lot of teams registering. We are hoping for community donations in the form of gift cards and gift certificates, which would be used for a raffle."
As more volunteers come forward and offer to help raise funds in any way they can, DiCicco is hearing stories of students who want to help because of a family member who was ill or a special connection or reason that drives them to want to help out in some way or another. DiCicco believes that it is truly indicative of the type of class that this year's class is and the type of class council that has led them through the years.
"This is a really great class and a great class council," she said. "Each and every single one of them has a good heart and they're dedicated."
The students believe that it's just the way things are at East, that it's not a school divided into classes but rather one big family.
"We all support each other," said Vice President Tatevik Khachatryan. "If the freshman class is having a fundraiser, we support them. If we have something, everyone supports us. We are one big family."
Treasurer Alex Norberg agrees and is pleased with the legacy the class will be leaving behind in June.
"We are leaving our mark, we are making history and we are giving back to our community," he said. "And we are having fun doing it."
To make a donation to the senior class fundraising efforts, contact DiCicco at Cranston High School East. For more information about A Wish Come True, visit their website at www.awish.org.
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