By RENEE WEBB
ALGONA – Teachers and school administrators try various motivations to encourage students to give to charities and principals at Bishop Garrigan Schools were no exception.
For several years students at Bishop Garrigan and Seton Grade School have helped to raise money for a parish in Haiti. St. Cecelia Parish in Algona established a bond with St. Jeanne in Chantal, Haiti, as their sister parish in 2010 and since that time Garrigan students have assisted with raising funds.
The school’s latest fundraising effort was to assist the Haitian parish in purchasing goats.
With that in mind, Garrigan Principals Christina Peterson and Kristie Hough decided to provide an incentive to boost contributions.
“We decided to kiss a goat because we were raising money to purchase goats,” said Peterson, the 4th to 12th grade principal. “Students in grades K-12 had to raise over $4,000.”
They even had connections with a goat as one of their lunch ladies had one. Students save their leftover food each day to feed the goat.
In the end, the students raised $4,027, which bought 45 goats for St. Jeanne.
“We kissed the goat during a K-12 assembly in our gym,” Peterson explained. “It was exciting because we were not the only participants – we had four varsity basketball players, Deacon Bill Black and Garrigan President Lynn Miller kiss the goat.”
Gibson Menke, a third-grader at Seton Grade School, said it was funny to see all of the people kissing the goat.
“The goat was really cute,” he said.
To raise the money, the students were able to receive an out-of-uniform day for bringing in a donation. The pep rally and celebration was held on Feb. 2, during Catholic Schools Week.
Peterson noted that each year, Garrigan has increased its contributions by about $500 from the previous year.
The twin parish program helps the families of St. Jeanne with their religious, educational, medical and economic needs, and works with them to reach their own potential.
“This project has been important because there is an ongoing relationship with our twin parish in Haiti. Each year at least one student and some parents go to Haiti to visit and they bring back pictures of the people and our completed projects,” Peterson noted.
Previously, they had raised funds to purchase chickens for Haitian parishioners.
“Last year we were devastated by the news that many of the chickens had perished in the hurricane, but we were relieved after this year’s trip to discover that many chickens had survived,” said Peterson. “I believe that this ongoing connection is the key to the success of our fundraising.”
Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti last October and caused much damage to the Chantal including the parish.
Because there is such a relationship between St. Cecelia and Garrigan with St. Jeanne’s, the students were well aware of the struggles in Haiti. That was also a motivator for donations.
“It helps give them back what they need to live from the hurricane,” said Menke. “The goats give them food, the food they need.”