From the early days of the pandemic, the student councils at all three Edmond high schools knew that their annual fundraising initiatives; BALTO, SWINE WEEK, AND DOUBLE WOLF DARE WEEK, would look very different.

“The kids have been great about focusing on the spirit of BALTO instead of the dollars, as we are expecting a serious drop in our usual grand total,” said Edmond North High School Student Council Sponsor Brian Hunter.

Sponsors and students are reinventing the wheel for almost all of their fundraising events this year. They’re utilizing apps for their silent auctions—which allow people to bid on items in real-time— allowing participants in the fun runs to submit their times on the honor system and are holding more virtual events.

The most notable change, however, will be the assemblies, which will be mostly virtual or limited to a 25% capacity.

“We will be live streaming our assemblies so that all students who can’t come can still be involved,” said Edmond Santa Fe High School Student Council Sponsor Meg Gatewood. “Another major change is that we will be having our assemblies in the evening in order to allow teachers as much time as possible with their students in class,” she said.

The school’s broadcasting events classes are playing a larger role in the fundraising effort this year as they try to find creative ways to showcase the beneficiaries and their missions.

“The biggest challenge has been trying to take events that are all about bringing people together and reimagining them so that students, parents, and staff can still connect with our recipient while staying safe,” noted Hunter.

Sadly, some events have had to be put on the shelf until next year. 

“Our biggest heartbreak was letting go of the Daddy Daughter Dance,” said Edmond Memorial High School Student Council Sponsor Ron Crawford. “This dance is traditionally one of Memorial’s biggest fundraisers. Ultimately, the students came to the decision that it could not be done safely.”

But even with cancellations, students are learning skills about how to regroup and move forward. “We’ve been forced to get back to our roots, and are finding tangible ways to be involved with our beneficiary,” noted Crawford.

Students are also learning about cooperation and helping one another. Months ago, they created a plan to provide a cushion for the total amount donated to the primary beneficiaries at each school.

Instead of a 95-5 split of funds between the primary recipient and the common thread recipient, there will be a 90-5-5 split. Ninety percent of each high school’s total will benefit their chosen charity, and the other ten percent will be split between the two sister high school’s charities. The middle and elementary school funds will be included in the high school of their vertical, prior to the 90-5-5 disbursement.

“Students believe the new arrangement will help unify the three high schools as they work for others with one another,” said Debbie Bendick, associate superintendent of secondary education.