Students Planned; Donors Delivered

January 6, 2022 / Andrea Wenger

Result of the 2021 student-led Christmas Fund Drive are in.

As of January 14, results are:

  • $161,045 total gifts to support students, teachers and staff
  • 469 generous donors gave 521 gifts
  • and 2,936 postcards written in two weeks

Starting in October, student committee members met over lunch to plan for the 2021 drive, an annual effort since 1948.

They planned a middle school and high school chapel to kick off the drive. They rallied peers to write nearly 3,000 postcards to alumni and friends in two weeks. They talked with trusted adults and invited them to donate. High school students set up personal web pages to invite gifts electronically.

Parents and supporters volunteered to stamp and address cards. Students made gifts from their own savings. Recent graduates made their first gifts. Donors who have given for decades happily gave to support a current student’s efforts, often including an encouraging note.

“I eagerly await to give each year as I was so blessed by my one year as a senior at EMHS,” wrote Kathryn Yoder Ernest, class of ’68. “I have so many lovely memories of studies and friends and trips around the area,” she noted.

Soon after returning from Christmas break, students brought their fund drive gifts to separate middle and high school offering chapels. As packets were collected, student committee members, paired with a class sponsor, entered amounts on a spread sheet. Periodically, class totals were projected so students could share the excitement of the opportunity to win a class outing for participation.

Student involvement each year is inspiring, says Trisha Blosser, development officer and drive coordinator. “This year we seemed to have even more ownership perhaps because we divided the planning meetings and chapel launch for middle and high school,” she noted. “The response each year from our community is inspiring and encouraging, hearing from new supporters and long-time donors.”

Gifts made through the drive support the 2nd Century Annual Fund, providing financial aid, faculty salaries, and operational costs.

Donations for the 2021 Christmas Fund Drive are welcome through January 31. Donate online, by dropping a gift at the school’s front office, or by mailing a check to Eastern Mennonite School, 801 Parkwood Drive, Harrisonburg, Va. 22802.

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