SEMINOLE – During a conversation with her guidance counselor at the end of last school year, Seminole High School junior Tori Foltz learned there are a number of students who can’t afford to buy yearbooks.
“If they can’t afford yearbooks, I’m sure they can’t afford other things, like senior breakfast and grad night and senior prom and other things,” said Foltz, 15. “It just did not sit right with me.”
So, she decided to do something about it. This summer, she gathered several of her friends to create The Warhawk Project, a student committee that assists SHS seniors with various graduation expenses.
Dara Cadzow, 15, a junior, said the group met with Principal Jane Lucas over the summer to get the project started. Their advanced placement world history teacher, Kathy Pierce, agreed to sponsor the group.
“She told us that over the summer we should start getting money and raising awareness,” Cadzow said.
They created an Instagram page under the name The Warhawk Project to reach their friends and other SHS students. They also hosted their first fundraiser July 30, a spirit night, at Culver’s in Seminole. They collected $215 in tips from diners alone, in addition to a percentage of the restaurant’s sales that evening. They plan to host additional fundraisers at Culver’s, though no future dates are set yet.
The committee launched with just four members. In addition to Cadzow and Foltz, juniors Lauryn Fox and Nick McClure, both 16, are part of the core group of organizers. They held their first meeting not long after the start of the new school year, and around 30 students showed up.
Fox said they’re planning other ways to raise money for the project, including selling concessions at the school’s improv shows or candy around Halloween.
During the first half of the year, The Warhawk Project will focus on purchasing yearbooks for at least five “seniors who really can’t afford them,” Foltz said. Yearbook prices range from $65 at the start of the year to $100 by the end of the year, she added.
“I think that yearbooks are so important,” she said. “They’re strong memorabilia, and that’s really important to us, because those will last a long time.”
They’ll focus on raising funds to send students to the annual senior breakfast during the second half of the year. The cost of the breakfast is $20.
“That’s one of the things students expressed interest in doing but couldn’t afford to go to,” Cadzow said.
All funds raised will be dispersed to students anonymously by the school’s administration.
“Everything has to be anonymous,” Foltz said. “We aren’t going to know who the students are.”
The committee will announce new fundraisers as they’re planned. They’ll also eventually set up a crowdfunding campaign.
They don’t have a set amount to raise in mind, Cadzow said. “We just want to be able to help as many kids as we can.”