High school graduation is expensive.
To cover that expense, funds are raised by kids and parents throughout the year to pay for the ceremony and other graduation celebrations, never knowing if they will have enough to pay for it all until all is said and done.
Sometimes, however, they have more than they need, which was the case the past few years with Carihi High’s grad classes’ fundraising.
In fact, they try to over-fundraise on purpose so that they can give something back to the community that supports them.
“Because the community is so generous,” says Jane Kolmatycki, Carihi High’s 2015 grad class sponsor, “a while back, we started saying, ‘let’s teach our kids to give something back.’ We started talking about their legacy.”
They talk about it early and often.
“We say, yes, you should fundraise, and yes, we’ll give you a great grad and after-grad, but it’s all about what your community gives you and what you can give back to them.”
Kolmatycki says in the past they have raised as much as $8,000 more than they ended up needing, and when they look at the total each year after all the expenses are paid, the class decides what they want to do with the leftovers.
Last year, the class decided to support their friend Reice Collins, and the organization he’s involved with.
“Because he was such an active member and contributed so much to the grad class, they wanted to give half to Special Olympics,” Kolmatycki says. “He’s so popular around here. He’s everyone’s friend, and was a huge part of what made this place great for that class,” she smiles.
His presence in the school is certainly palpable. Even while just lingering in the hall before the cheque presentation took place, Collins was greeted enthusiastically by numerous students, passing high-fives and pleasantries, many going out of their way to come over and have a quick chat as they bustled from one class to another near the end of the day.
The other half of the leftover funds from last year’s graduation fundraising – another $1,641.43 – will be going towards suicide awareness and prevention within the community, in support and recognition of another classmate who lost a sibling last year.
They’re not sure what that donation will look like, or who it will go to, but it’s in the works.
“We’re hoping to find and support a specific project that deals with teaching kids about mental health,” Kolmatycki says.
“I’ve made contacts with different organizations and told them about what the kids would like to do,” but what exactly that will look like has yet to be determined.
In any case, the community can be watching for grad fundraisers all year long and know that if the class has too much money after their caps are thrown in the air, they’ll be giving the rest back to the community.