Rivalry Inspires Support for Fires

Woodside’s Competition for a Cause Fundraiser

Woodside and Sequoia will use their rivalry to benefit those in need through Competition for a Cause, a fundraiser for the Sonoma County Schools Fire Relief fund.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, last October’s Sonoma County fire is the most destructive wildfire in California history.  The fire, called Tubbs, destroyed 5,643 structures and killed 22 people, leaving thousands of survivors homeless.  Donors around the world raised over 18 million dollars for fire relief, and Woodside will soon join the effort.

“Back in the fall semester, the Activities Directors and the student body presidents for all the schools in the district were talking about how we wanted to help with the fires in Northern California,” recalls Leslie With, Stud

ent Activities Director and Leadership teacher.  “I suggested a competition between all the schools to see who can raise the most money…  In December, Sequoia reached out to us [about] a competition.”

The two schools kicked off Competition for a Cause during the Woodside versus Sequoia basketball game at Woodside on January 12th.  The fundraiser will end on February 2nd at the Woodside versus Sequoia basketball game hosted by Sequoia, and both schools will donate all proceeds via Sonoma County’s Office of Education.

“Our leadership class… played a large role in coming up with the idea, but BOSA did a lot of the cross-school communication,” clarifies Evan Farrar, senior class president.  “Stefan Sujansky, who is our BOSA president… organized the log

istics of the competition with Sequoia’s admins.”

At Woodside, this philanthropic fundraiser is the first event of

its kind.  Although Woodside and Sequoia often go head to head in sports and even in academics, the two schools have never competed in fundraisers.

“I hope that we can do more of this type of thing in this future, [using] our rivalry to make a positive impact through a little bit of healthy competition,” comments Farrar.

Students and staff throughout Woodside intend to beat Sequoia, but victory remains uncertain.

“One of the downfalls of the challe

nge is that we don’t know what the other side’s doing,” With reasons.  “We don’t know how it’s going there.  But I think that if we keep talking about it, pushing it, motivating it, and keep the word out, w

e have a strong possibility [of winning].”

Over a week into the fundraiser, the leadership class continues advertising.  Some teachers agreed to hold challenges within their classrooms― for example, bringing in treats if the students collect a certain amount of funds.

“I personally have a box on my desk, and if there is two hundred dollars in that box by the end of the challenge, I will sing in the quad,” promises With.  “I’m not a good singer, but I’m willing to put myself out there to help others.”

The leadership class may also sell flower grams, and as an extra incentive, the College and Career Center gives students a college shirt of their choice if they donate and record their name on a list.

“We’ve also tried to get [the fundraiser] around the school and on announcements,” describes Caroline Daniher, sophomore class president and head of leadership’s Philanthropy Committee.  “The competition against Sequoia is the [main] incentive, since they’re our rival school.”

Despite the publicity, not everyone at Woodside knows about the competition, including freshman Noah Maltzman.

“It’s a good plan, but it really needs to be devel

oped in order for it to be successful,” advises Maltzman.  “A lot of school fundraisers that I know of tend not to be successful… We need to get excitement up.”

Still, Maltzman plans on participating and hopes to beat Sequoia.  With shares this goal but also wishes to promote the charitable side of the fundraiser.

“I want Woodside to see that every little bit counts, and that we’ve really been focusing on philanthropic ventures,” With explains.  “We’ve talked a lot about how we need to raise money for the school, but we also need to think about how we can raise funds and help others in need.”

Daniher has a similar focus― raising the highest amount possible to aid victims of the fire.

“[Students and staff] should really cons

ider supporting this cause,” Daniher concludes.  “These are people just right across the bay from us who have suffered, and some of them have lost their houses and even lives to these fires.  It’s really important that we support them.”