Williston students decided to turn Valentine’s Day into a memorable day not only to celebrate love, but also for an honorable, humanitarian cause.
On this Valentine’s Day, Feb 14, the Spanish Club helped create a fundraiser for the education of a girl named Maria from the Dominican Republic. They chose this day to sell carnations people could buy for $2, which were sent out during class time by volunteers.
By the end of the day, the club raised about $700, which passed their original goal to raise $600 for Maria’s school tuition and life expenses.
The Spanish Club was started this year by two juniors: Brie Banas and Anna Moran. As they were trying to find activities for the club, Anna found an organization named Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (Our Little Brothers and Sisters). Through this group people can sponsor orphaned children from Latin America and the Carribean, raising money to give the children the education they need.
Along with the fundraising, the Spanish Club is planning to correspond with Maria by sending letters. In Spanish, of course. Anna is excited to start sharing letters, along with the money, with Maria in the spring.
“We picked Maria from the Dominican Republic who wants to become a doctor and loves watching movies,” said Anna. “We have not yet started correspondence with her since we just finished the fundraiser, but we are going to get a group together and start writing to her.”
Discussing her future goal, Anna said she would love to meet Maria in real life.
“Down the line, Brie and I would love to take a trip down to the Dominican and stay at the orphanage and help out and meet Maria.”
Even though the carnations went really well and they were able to surpass their original goal, Anna and Brie admitted that it also came with some sleepless nights for them.
“It was a ton of hard work and many hours full of it, but all of it was undoubtedly worth it and Brie and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Anna. “Brie and I would text randomly at midnight and Facetime and hang out in her dorm planning stuff.”
During the week, there were about 30 volunteers giving up their lunch time to sit at a table in the dining hall and sell carnations, while others spent their free periods on Thursday (Valentine’s Day) delivering carnations.
Brie and Anna would want to give credits to the volunteers and the support of their families and the school to give them the chance to create something this meaningful.
“It was a ton of hard work and organizing it all was insane,” said Brie. “But we had tons of volunteers that made the process way better.”
Anna appreciated everyone’s help.
“It was a team effort and this fundraiser necessitated a lot of work, but it was all such fun because I had my best friend doing it with me,” she said. “We gathered a group of volunteers, ordered the carnations with a donation from Dr. and Mrs. Moran, (thanks mom and dad I love you), and lots of help from Mrs. Ram and Mrs. Motyka. This was quite the endeavor but we were met with such great help from all those around us. We really felt the love of Williston with this fundraiser.”
At the end of the day, the carnations were not only able to support an education for a little girl, but also create so many smiles in campus. Brie expressed that all the hard work and sleepless nights were totally worth it when she saw people’s happiness.
“When I was delivering flowers, I would see how many people were happier because of what Anna and I were doing,” she said. “The smiling faces around us definitely made up for all the stress.”
Anna hopes the carnation drive expands and becomes an annual event for the Spanish Club.
“We are absolutely going to do the same thing next year!” said Anna. “We were hoping to make this an annual thing that the Spanish Club does. It was one of the best experiences of my life to do this, and I’d love to keep that going. We are going to keep it on Valentine’s Day so we can keep spreading the love each year.”