Central students sit for a good cause

Clare Felletter, 17, started “Stand Up by Sitting Down” at Central High School.



Many of the students at Central High School chose to subject their designer jeans and shorts to a little floor time during classes Wednesday for a good cause

In more than half the classes, students chose to sit on the floor rather than use a chair, in an effort to understand what it feels like to be in a poor school that can barely afford text books much less desks for their students.

The project, “Stand Up by Sitting Down,” raised awareness among high school students of just how good an American school is when compared to the education system in third world countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“I think it’s a good reminder of how privileged we are to have a free education and all that comes with that—we are so blessed,” said Brad Thomas, and English teacher at the high school. He pushed all of the furniture in his classroom to the outside walls so his students could stretch out their legs on the floor. He gave them a writing assignment that proved all the more difficult when students had to balance books and papers on their laps.

The project was started last year by Senior Clare Felletter as part of her Service Learning class. The voluntary class requires students to plan and implement a project that will not only create awareness about world issues, but also find an answer to help solve it.

Felletter and other volunteers visit sitting classrooms asking for donations to help build schools and buy furniture for poorer nations. Last year, the event raised $1,050 for Invisible Children, an organization that funds schools in Uganda. 

This year, Felletter chose to help the Central Asia Institute, an organization founded by “3 Cups of Tea” author, Greg Mortenson. She hopes the students will give more than last year to the cause.

“I’ve really found a passion for this and I enjoy the feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself,” Felletter said, while sitting on a hallway floor.

Felletter organized nearly 100 student volunteers to help gather pledges for the project. More students and teachers showed enthusiasm to participate this year than last.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Sophomore Sean Collins.

She felt that not only was the student body helping others, the project also showed the community that high school students were aware of world issues despite the unsavory reputation they often have in the community. “It shows we’re turning out all right,” she laughed.

It’s going to be hard for Felletter to pass the project, which she called “her baby,” on to another student after her graduation in a few weeks. However, she hopes that it will be something the school adopts as tradition each spring.

“They won’t remember my name, or the difference that I’ve made, but it will carry on,” she said. “It makes me feel like I do have the power to make a difference.”

 


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