Members of the Sandwich High School UNICEF Club were able to raise $1,400 by “selling” parking spaces in the school parking lot to their classmates; the buyers were then able to personalize them with paint.
Senior Danica Shores, UNICEF Club co-president, said that the club’s fundraising board vice president came up with the idea over the summer. Once the idea was formed, Paula Tanguilig shared her thoughts with Danica and co-president Morgan Simmons.
UNICEF, which stands for the United Nations Children’s Fund (originally the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) works to promotes the rights and well-being of children worldwide.
The idea was that for a $20 UNICEF donation, students would be able to claim a parking space and decorate it. Since the parking lot is slated to be repaved next summer, they thought that the timing would be perfect for such a fundraiser.
“We began to reach out to administration before the start of school in order to lock in the idea and make sure we could do it as early into the school year as possible,” Danica said.
Danica said that seniors were given first pick of their parking spaces. In all, about 70 students purchased and painted a parking space, Danica said.
“Any student who could drive was allowed to purchase a spot as long as they had registered their car through the school and passed in a rough draft of their drawing,” Danica said.
The spaces were painted on September 28, and last Sunday, October 6.
Some of the parking spaces were vandalized over the weekend, with someone painting swastikas and male genitalia on four of the painted spaces. Police said the vandalism was discovered last Friday, October 4, around 10:30 PM when the school’s football team returned from a game.
The police are reviewing surveillance footage to try to identify a suspect. Principal James Mulcahy said that while there is currently no suspect, initial indications are that the damage was not done by a Sandwich student.
He said that students have expressed that they are upset over the incident and that the school is working to address what happened with students through their social studies curriculum.
“The goal is to make students feel safe and comfortable,” he said.
Mr. Mulcahy said that while the vandalism is unfortunate, he is proud of the way that the community came together to fix the problem. He was in Brewster watching his son play baseball when he heard about the incident and he went to the school as fast as he could.
When he got there, parents had already arrived and had brought their own paint to cover up the damage.
Danica said that the incident was upsetting and disappointing. Still, she said that the club has not let the vandalism mar the success of the fundraiser and that the affected students are welcome to repaint their spaces.
“Although this incident was not one we were hoping for, or even expecting, we as a club have decided to not let it ruin the fundraiser,” she said. “This was still an amazing opportunity to raise money for underprivileged children all around the globe and we are only moving forward.”
Regardless of the repaving, Mr. Mulcahy said that the fundraiser could occur again in the future once they figure out what the parking lot layout will be, as well as the layout of the proposed solar canopy.