Students dance their way to $1,000 for Haiti

Published 6:55 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Three Austin High School students headed to the Red Cross Tuesday with more than $1,000 in toe.

The students, plus one, are members of the Delta Epsilon Chi (DECA) chapter at AHS and raised the funds at a dance held last Saturday to benefit Haiti relief.

The four members of the larger marketing, management and entrepreneurship club spent a few weeks planning the dance, hoping to raise $1,000.

“Once we hit that, we stopped counting,” said Marni Surdy, AHS junior. “I don’t even know how much is in this envelope, just that it’s more than $1000.”

The dance was held Friday evening at the Austin Elks Club, which donated its space. Imagery Sound provided music — unfiltered by the AHS administration, as it was not an official school event.

“That was a huge benefit,” Surdy said of student freedom over the playlist.

Tickets to the event were $5, and admittance was offered to all high school students.

“Some students from Rochester and St. Ansgar even came out,” said Miles Edwards, AHS senior, who estimated that more than 150 students attended the dance.

Free-will donations were accepted, and once the group had taken in about $750 at the door, they began passing a hat around the dance floor to collect the rest.

“People really got into it and were generous,” Edwards said. “Students, parents, teachers, everyone.”

Brigitte Campbell, executive assistant of the American Red Cross Mower County Chapter, said 100 percent of the donation will go the American Red Cross’ International Haiti fund.

“We have seen a lot of support for Haiti coming from our area schools which is great” Campbell said.

While the local chapter forwards all donations specified for Haiti directly to the international fund, Campbell said she does not believe that financial support of the local chapter has decreased.

“It is great that the community is showing this generosity and specifying donations to Haiti,” she said. “So far, people have remembered to continue supporting our local programs as well.”

Though the DECA group is taking a break for now, they said they could potentially plan another dance at some point.

“Students are already asking us when we are going to plan our next charity dance,” said Henry Darling, AHS senior. “The Elks told us that they would lend us their space again too.”

“It’s really been a community effort, and in the end… That’s what made this project a success,” Surdy said.