ADAMS -- A donation from Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School seniors has put Northern Berkshire United Way nearly $1,000 closer to reaching its annual fundraising campaign's goal.
Eleven students in teacher Deborah Calderara's senior seminar organized two school dances, and through ticket, concession and photobooth sales, raised a total of $1,863.50. Senior Danielle Milesi, a student involved in the class, said the total would be split down the middle, with $931.75 going to the senior class and to Northern Berkshire United Way.
"We decided to give to United Way so we could donate to a lot of charities at once," Milesi said.
Northern Berkshire United Way Executive Director Joseph McGovern said with the students' donation, the organization has reached 79 percent of its $550,000 campaign goal, or roughly $434,500. Northern Berkshire United Way supports 23 member organizations serving seven towns.
"What these kids did today was phenomenal," McGovern said. "You see things like this all around North County. Residents really care about each other and take care of each other."
McGovern said with the donation, the students will be entered into the Red Feather Society, a category for donors of $500 or more. The group will be listed as members of the society in the organization's future publications, he added.
Calderara, a history teacher at the school, explained the students were assigned to do a service learning project that benefited the community. While creating the project, they learned important time management, organization and leadership skills, she said.
"They worked well together," Calderara said. "It was a great lesson not only for what they did for the community but for working collaboratively."
After a dance organized by another group of students in Calderara's class was successful in the fall, Milesi said students decided to hold two more. In February, seniors hosted back-to-back middle and high school snowball dances.
Students accepted donations, collected $75 in a can drive and put in more than $300 of their own money to fund snacks, decorations and other supplies for the dance, Milesi said. Students in the class sold tickets, snacks, worked a photobooth and cleaned up after both dances. The students agreed working the snack table was the best.
"You got to eat what was leftover," senior Jacob McNicol said.
McGovern said the organization is still waiting for some corporate gifts and company campaigns, and expects donations up until the campaign's end. McGovern said the campaign, which kicked off in September, 2012, will close at the annual breakfast in May.
"It's pretty exciting to watch the campaign as it goes," McGovern said. "People in North County are absolutely incredible."
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