The students at McLean High School have taken “Have a Heart” month, well, to heart.
A dance held Saturday night in the cafeteria was the first of several fund-raisers organized and planned to benefit Oxfam, UNICEF and AmeriCares in their tsunami relief efforts.
“The Student Government Association decided to use some of the profit left over from the homecoming dance to sponsor this dance, so all the money coming in from ticket sales will be profit for the tsunami relief,” said Helen Stephan, adviser of the Leadership Class at McLean High School. “Different clubs and organizations were ‘challenging’ each other to see who has more members attending the dance.”
The tickets, which cost $10 each, were being sold during the three lunch periods, with volunteers from the Leadership Class keeping track of each group’s participation on a large piece of bright-red poster board.
This Saturday, Feb. 12, the school will host a Comedy Night, featuring the school’s Drama Club in a performance of “Marriage of Figaro,” which was recently performed in the Liberty District’s One-Act Play competition at Marshall High School, and a presentation from DC Comedy Sportz, an improvisational theater group.
“We thought it would be a good idea to have something every weekend for the tsunami relief,” said Abeer Desai. “We invited the school’s theater department in to have a larger student involvement.”
“All of the parents are really enthusiastic about helping out,” said Ginna Altmeyer.
THE PROCEEDS from the dance and the comedy night will go to tsunami relief. In order to select the most worthy charities, the students held a congress of all the school’s organizations to determine the best beneficiaries.
“We did research and had two meetings to discuss what we wanted to do,” said Dionte Anderson, president of the SGA. “We wanted to make sure we could benefit the victims for a long time, not just immediate relief.”
Oxfam, he said, was chosen because its focus is on children and the water supply. The donation the students give to Oxfam will be used to purchase water tanks that will serve 750 people, he said.
“UNICEF also described what they do for children on their Web site, and we feel the students would relate to that more,” said Annie Matsko. “We read a lot about what’s happening to the children over there, and it’s just heartbreaking.”
“AmeriCares was rated among the highest on this Web site that ranks charities,” Stephan said. “Ninety-nine percent of all contributions go straight to the charity.”
The students have decided not to set a goal for their fund-raising efforts.
“It’s good that we put the effort toward a good cause, that’s more important,” said Rhea Saab.
The fund-raisers have brought out the charitable side of school spirit in some students who normally wouldn’t be as willing to participate.
“People who don’t usually go to dances or are anti-SGA are still buying tickets for the dance and want to help the cause,” said Web Bist.
“Even teachers have been coming up and buying tickets for the dance or giving us $10,” said Megan Blumenthal, who was spending her lunch period selling tickets in the cafeteria. “We’ve been selling tickets since 11 a.m., and we’ve sold about 200 tickets so far,” she said, shortly after noon last Thursday.
“The wrestling team donated their proceeds from the wrestling match against Marshall the other day to the tsunami relief,” said wrestler Danny Houck. A total of $456 was raised from admissions.
In addition, admission from a basketball game against Langley, one of the school’s biggest rivalries, will be donated to the relief efforts.
The following week, the school will host a one-act play competition, featuring some pieces written by students. The plays that win on Thursday and Friday night will compete against each other on Saturday, Feb. 19.
“The Madrigals have Boarshead the week after that, which is a medieval dinner, and part of the admission from that will go to the relief as well,” said Bligh Both.
Ideally, the students are hoping to raise a total of between $10,000 and $15,000 from their efforts, which would be split equally among the three organizations.
“We do benefits pretty frequently, and it’s always a worthy cause to help out a school,” said Jim Doyle of DC Comedy Sportz, who will be performing at McLean along with Marnie Dodson.
“The show we’ll do is a little different from our normal evening show,” Doyle said. Usually, the group of seven actors will split into two ‘teams’, with the seventh member serving as a ‘referee’ as the teams try to win points for their antics.
“There will be more audience interaction with this show,” he said. “We not only ask for suggestions but will pull people up out of the audience to come on stage with us.”
All of the performances DC Comedy Sportz gives are “clean, family shows,” Doyle said, good for families of all ages to attend.
The Comedy Night will be held this Saturday, Feb. 12, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and children.