Students Raise $82,000 For Haiti, Principal Jumps From Plane

February 16, 2010

When the earthquake struck in Haiti, Sister Jane Meyer immediately sent the email: We must do something. She didn’t know then it would involve jumping out of an airplane, and inspiring St. Agnes Academy students to raise more than $82,000 for the devastated country.

Meyer, the academy’s head of school, promised to go skydiving if students raised $25,000 — After just two weeks of a fundraising effort that outpaced anyone’s imagination, Meyer knew she would be forced to “suit up” and make good on her promise.

Sister Jane Meyer, head of school at St. Agnes Academy, went skydiving on Sunday after students raised $82,000 for Haiti. Photo courtesy of SkyDive Houston.

“If that’s what it takes to make this drive for Haiti successful, I’m in,” said Meyer, who jumped from the airplane on Sunday. “We don’t have a choice in this — This is what God calls us to do.”

“I know our young women feel the same way,” Meyer added. “They have really stepped up to the plate.”

Dean of Students Brigid Schiro introduced the “Hope for Haiti” campaign to students during a pep rally, and challenged each grade level to compete to raise the most money.

“At the time, we thought $25,000 was really unattainable,” Schiro said.

But the funds poured in as students rallied behind the cause. They organized bake sales, designed and sold t-shirts, and hosted a dance, art show, garage sale, car wash and more. Schiro said most of the money came from small, individual donations, but some donors opened their hearts and pocket books to give $1,000 or more. One person donated $5,000.

Tonight, seniors are hosting the last fundraising event, a talent show called Harmony for Haiti. Meyer said she expects the event to push the fundraising total to $90,000.

Each week, administrators have sent money to Catholic Relief Services, a charity that was on the ground in Haiti before the earthquake and now remains to assist survivors.

Tom Price, a spokesman for the charity, said that $90,000 will go a long way towards funding the group’s relief efforts. Catholic Relief Services is distributing food and supplies, providing medical care, constructing water and sanitation facilities like restrooms, and giving Haitians temporary shelter and hygiene kits.

“Imagine how much $90,000 can buy, especially when you buy in bulk,” Price said. “Coming from children, and the fact that they are using their time and their scamp resources, means so much.”

Price referenced a national saying in Haiti that has reverberated around the world in the wake of the earthquake. “We may stumble, but we don’t fall,” the Haitians say.

“It’s kind of like this school is in a very real way helping the Haitians to stay on their feet,” he said.

The realization has not escaped students at St. Agnes Academy. Although the fundraising effort began as a competition, said senior Lindsay Buchanan, students’ attitudes changed after they raised the first $10,000.

“I think that everyone just kind of was like ‘Wow, we can make a difference’,” Buchanan said. “So much these days, young people especially think that maybe they can’t make a difference. Maybe they can’t raise their voice and be heard. But I think this was really a wake-up call. We can use our talents, pull together and do something for people who need our help.”

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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