Written by Marilou Giammona Friday, 15 February 2013 00:00
A group of aspiring students from Floral Park Memorial High School (FPMHS) recently received accolades not only from Mayor Thomas J. Tweedy but also cash from the MSG Varsity/Optimum Power to Learn initiative.
On Thursday, Jan. 31, the students were heralded during the Junior/Senior Challenge at the school for their participation in Charity Champions, a Cablevision-sponsored competition that promotes volunteerism and encourages area high schools to raise funds for a charity of their choice.
Under the direction of student advisor Christina Blanc, who teaches seventh grade social studies, AP World History and AP European History at FPMHS, the students focused their efforts on “buildOn,” a not-for-profit organization that provides rural communities in developing nations across the globe with access to education, with a focus on gender equality. The school was awarded $1,000 to be donated to buildOn and also received $500 in “seed” money to support and implement the students’ fundraising events for buildOn.
Last summer, 16 students and four faculty members, including Blanc, spent a week in Wale, Nicaragua, where they lived with and worked beside the villagers to help construct a school. It was a humbling experience for both students and faculty, as they spent several hours each day mixing cement, tying rebar and digging the foundation with hand tools, and spent their nights with their host families in homes with mud floors. The school’s buildOn club is planning to embark on a similar trip this summer.
“The students here today are clearly focused on building a school in Nicaragua so that the young people there can also receive an education and look forward to a better future,” Tweedy said. “I commend them for their commitment and enthusiasm. I’d also like to thank MSG Varsity and Optimum’s Power to Learn for its Charity Champions program.”
Founded in 1998, Power to Learn, Cablevision’s nationally recognized education initiative, empowers K-12 learning in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado by making technology in the classroom useful and by facilitating the home-school connection, according to the company’s website. High schools can apply for participation in the Charity Champions competition, which is designed to help participants demonstrate school spirit, creativity and community service by planning, organizing and orchestrating an event or series of events to raise funds for their designated charity.