Pizza, donuts, and softball; St. Louis U. High’s One World Club with contributions from Stuco held a week-long fundraiser in order to aid refugees in Poland who have been displaced by the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. SLUH raised money for the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), an organization which has provided Ukrainian immigrants with support in finding shelter, transportation, and the next step in their lives as a whole.
During spring break, Director of Global Education Rob Chura traveled to Poland and used his proficiency in Ukrainian to aid the JRS. Although Chura’s trip helped him discern which organization the funds should be sent to, the idea of a fundraiser as a whole was first proposed by students.
“This was a student generated or born idea,” said Spanish teacher and One World Club Moderator Maria-Paz Campos. “I have been making sure things run smoothly and there are some things that adults need to be present to make happen, but this is a student initiative.”
As soon as the conflict in Eastern Europe started, the students and teachers of the One World Club knew they needed to use their platform to do something. On the forefront, the club had the goal of educating the student body and humanizing the events in Eastern Europe and avoid further politicizing the situation. They achieved this goal by actively involving students and introducing them to the situation by platforms such as the Ukraine round table discussion, playing videos in homeroom, and encouraging students to write out their prayers and thoughts on post-it notes.
“We wanted to center our attention on the human person, following the Jesuit lens of humanizing the topic. When you do that, you need to get to the point of taking action so you cannot just stay there, just interpret the information, reflect and just stay there and not really do anything about it, ” said Campos.
“I think for instance the activity with the post-its, I think students took that really seriously and put thought into it,” said Spanish teacher and One World Club Moderator Magdalena Alvarado.
Spearheaded by the One World Club, SLUH mobilized to raise money for JRS. Over the course of the week, the club sold doughnuts on Tuesday morning and sold pizza and soda for $6 during lunch on Wednesday.
The climax of the week, however, occurred on Thursday when members of the senior class faced off against faculty members in an exciting, competitive softball game. The students beat their faculty opponents winning the five-inning game 4-0.
Senior Gus Tettamble stole the show, pitching all five innings for a shutout game. Senior Coby Spratte provided the senior class with a boost of offense, delivering an inside the park home run for the team’s first run.
“It was a really great pitchers duel between Gus and Dr. Callon, but I was able to bust it open with my home run and kick off our offense,” said Spratte. “We were able to hold onto the lead and bring home the win. It was a great outing all for a good cause.”
On the faculty side, Chinese teacher Yude Huang delivered a dynamic performance in his one inning on the rubber, which ended with Huang making a diving play to prevent the ball from exiting the infield and gunning out senior AJ Thompson. Other stars of the faculty included physics teacher Paul Baudendistel, who exerted no energy when running the bases following a long blast, instead opting to hitch a ride on a golf cart courtesy of Assistant Dean of Students Dan Schulte.
Hopes were high for the faculty in the final inning, when they appeared to have some momentum going with two runners on base. But the game ended in devastating fashion when English teacher Steve Missey hit a hard line drive back to Tettamble for the final out of the game.
Overall, the campaign was widely successful. With the help of the leadership from the One World Club, the generosity and openness to learning of the SLUH community, the club was able to help fund the Jesuit Refugee Services and further educate SLUH at the same time.
“It has been very successful in our community because of generosity, not only students but also teachers and alumni,” said Campos. “It was a lot of work. But it was worth it.”
—Charles Turnell (Staff), Thomas Juergens (Staff), and Drew Hawley (reporter) contributed to the reporting on this article.
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