Northern Secondary School recently continued an impressive streak that will benefit many of society’s most vulnerable members.
The midtown high school won the United Way’s Spirit Award, given out annually to the top fundraisers, for the second straight year and 10th time since 1996.
The school raised upwards of $33,000 to earn the award. The school has long been dedicated to raising funds for the United Way.
Prior to its run of Spirit Award wins, it earned the distinction of making the best overall contribution to the United Way six times between 1979 and 1984.
“Our United Way campaign has become a part of the fabric of this school,” said Northern principal Ron Felsen. “It’s become a Northern tradition.”
The key to the school’s success is having a student-run committee devoted purely to holding events and drumming up school spirit for the United Way campaign.
A full week is dedicated to raising funds for the United Way. Every home form class also undertakes its own project to raise funds.
“It isn’t a one-day campaign; we don’t just do a bake sale and move on,” Felsen said. “The committee has as much of a presence in our school as student council or the athletic council.”
While the students lead the charge, faculty and staff are more than happy to pitch in, whether it is Felsen agreeing to allow students to throw pies in his face for a donation, one of the vice-principals taking on all comers in table tennis or teachers taking part in the Faculty Follies teacher talent show.
The student events, however, typically take the spotlight.
“We have a fashion show over two nights in November that’s big fundraiser for us, and we have a great race event that pits the student council against the athletic council against the gay-straight alliance against the drama council,” Felsen said.
Some 250 students also participated in the Enbridge CN Tower Climb for United Way, raking in $15,000 and taking home the Student Team Climb Award.
The money raised will be distributed to the United Way, which will then disperse the money among its member agencies to help fund programming in a variety of areas.