KATY (Covering Katy News)—Last summer, Hurricane Harvey wreaked its havoc on Southeast Texas. Friday afternoon, approximately 75 families of Beckendorff Junior High School students or staff received relief funds that were raised by fellow students and staff.
The checks were awarded in a ceremony at the school, 8200 South Fry.
Rhonda Player, Compassion Katy marketing director, said this is the 12th year in which Beckendorff students and staff have participated in a charity fundraising event. Each year a different charity is chosen as the beneficiary, and this year the decision was made to support Beckendorff families.
In recent years, donations have averaged about $30,000 annually, but this year, the students and staff raised over $40,000, a record amount.
“We’re helping families within our school,” Player said. “It’s the most money they’ve ever raised.”
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Player said that the fundraising efforts are competitive and take place over a week.
Teachers are known to get into the act. One teacher, Marla McNeese, sported a fake beard in imitation of Houston Rockets basketball star James Harden, who is known for his real beard.
Students are given something of an incentive as well. Teachers use the last day of the drive to “count the money,” which in effect gives the students the day off from class though they’re at school. Parents and volunteers also help with the fundraising.
Player, in only her third month with Compassion Katy, said the experience of watching the students work to raise money to help their fellow Beckendorff students and their families was uplifting.
“The school was buzzing with excitement,” Player said. “It’s something I’ve not seen before. It was really wonderful.”
She described the fundraising effort as a leadership growth opportunity in which the students can see the impact of what they do, and how it impacts their community.
“It’s wonderful to witness that,” she said.