“Figuring out the total of what we had raised was overwhelming,” said Alex Desaulniers ‘07, of Rockland, Maine. The student Tsunami Relief Coalition capped its semester-long fund raising efforts with a gala event in Pieh Commons, raising a total of $10,000 that will be directed to Habitat for Humanity International, for new housing in the tsunami affected areas. The students’ efforts started on the first day back at School after winter break.
“I live on the coast,” Alex said. “So do my grandparents and my aunt and uncle. All I could think was if something like that happened to me, I would so hope someone would help me out—with a house, at least. I watched the small tents going up and thought about people crowding into them to live for months and months. Housing is such a basic need.”
Susannah Burrage ’07 and Sarah Pulit ’05 came back to School with the same drive to help. The three girls consulted with Andrea Geyling, faculty community service director, Hope Rupley, student activities director and with students from other concerned clubs and activity groups, and the Tsunami Relief Coalition came together. Students acted on all kinds of immediate ideas and began raising funds.
The group did not want the idea of the victims’ need to disappear over the winter months, knowing that it would remain urgent. They picked May for the gala, then divided into numerous committees to carry out the work of a spectacular night with great food and student entertainment. The group met every Friday throughout the winter and spring to keep tabs on the numerous details of making the evening a success.
“More people came than I ever thought would—boarding students and parents, day students and parents—and they had a great time,” Alex said. The jazz combo played and so did “Tin Siblings” (a student chamber group); Allison Brace played the piano and Steve Wagner played the violin. Donations from local vendors and faculty bakers supplemented the School food service for the gala fare.
Alex is sure that the $10,000 total from tickets, the raffle, the silent auction, donations, and earlier club fundraisers would help Habitat for Humanity extend the work of house-building in an important way. Groups whose efforts contributed to the $10,000 total included: Young Republicans, Asian Society, Middle School, Jewish Student Union and Christian Fellowship, Common Ground, Community Service, F.L.A.G. (Young Democrats) and Theatre Tech Crew.