By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal
Inspired to make a difference in the world, Whittier Christian Senior Shaun Crammer thought about what he could do. He remembered something that was done when he attended junior high school at Heights Christian School, and thought that, if adjusted, could possibly become something big.
So the idea for what would become the Schools for Change program was created.
Crammer’s plan initially was a school-wide competition to raise money for World Vision, an international organization to help eliminate world hunger.
The concept of the competition is simple. Be the first to raise the most change for world hunger in a set amount of time. However, what is a competition without a challenge?
As WCHS Christian Service Coordinator Mike Posey explained, the idea is to earn points through the collection of coins. However, bills will give you “minus points.”
“Coins earn you plus points,” Posey explained. “For every dollar your classroom receives you get a plus point. For every dollar you receive in bills, you receive a minus point.”
This allows for teachers to be creative and develop strategies in order to help raise the money. It also adds to the excitement of the competition.
“Some teachers are teaming up with others saying ‘I won’t buck bomb you if you don’t do it to me,’ other teachers are developing their own strategies,” Posey explained.
Crammer explained how Posey’s class was victim of a “buck bomb.”
“The other day Mr. Posey had $9.40 in his bucket, but he earned negative-one point because he had a 5-dollar bill in there,” Cramer explained. “It was the third most amount collected that day, but he was tied for last.”
The campus at Whittier Christian has really gotten into it and have supported the cause.
“This is probably the most positive feedback I’ve heard about any service project,” explained Christopher Gohl, another senior who has been helping Crammer put the program into action. “Everyone is excited. The teachers are getting into it. You go into their classrooms and they have plans written out on their boards.”
With the campus interested in the idea, Crammer thought why stop there? He saw that it was something that could be bigger.
“I thought why not do a competition to help end world hunger, then I thought why not take it a step further and include the whole school,” Crammer said. “Then I thought why not take it even another step further and include the three high schools.”
What started as a classroom competition is now, with La Habra High School’s involvement, becoming a city-wide high school event. Sonora High School was also invited to participate, but was unable to do so.
La Habra’s students came up with the competition’s title “Schools for Change”
So, the students are now competing within their respective campuses and then with each other to raise the most money in the competition.
At first look, there might be some concern about the size difference between the campuses. Whittier Christian’s 600 students is only a fraction to that of La Habra’s 2,000-plus enrollment.
“If every student on our campus gave $10, we would have $6,000 roughly from our school,” Posey explained. “Obviously, La Habra is a far larger school.”
He explained that some of the math faculty are devising a formula to make it more equal.
Posey explained that he is hoping to meet with La Habra Mayor Rose Espinoza to plan on the possibility of her presenting some kind of award to the winning school. Posey and Crammer would like to see this turn into an annual event among all three campuses in the city.
Posey sees the potential for alumni and outside supporters of the various campuses getting involved and donating change to help the schools win.
In the end, Posey explained, the goal is to help end world hunger and make the world a better place.
The competition started February 13 and runs through March 6. That’s when all the money will be tabulated and winners will be announced.
Crammer said he hasn’t really stopped to look at how this idea has grown, but admits that “it’s cool to see it actually working.”
Joy Karavedas, dean of student activities at Whittier Christian acknowledged all of the work that Crammer and Gohl have put into setting the competition up.
“It shows that a couple of people can affect not only your own community but also the world,” she said. “That’s how it starts.”