Academic programs rely on fundraisers for support

Academic programs rely on fundraisers for support

Serra Raquel, Entertainment Editor

When senior Casey Faamausili signed up for Speech and Debate class, he was expecting to write speeches, perform, and compete against other schools. What he didn’t expect was having to sell food, catalogues, plushies, and Christmas ornaments to fundraise for buses, state competitions, and national competitions.

“[We raise] a good amount, but I don’t think it’s enough for our program,” Faamausili said. “We do try to get the team to participate [in fundraising].”

Renting buses takes up half of the class’s budget since participating in events requires frequent travel. Speech and Debate events cost $20 each and some students have to pay for multiple events. Students also have to pay for state and national competitions.

“[Speech and Debate] receives a sizeable budget from the overall general budget because we believe in Speech and Debate and the work that students do,” Principal Hillary Harrell said.

Any extra money that Speech and Debate needs is obtained by fundraising.

Many other programs academic programs struggle with funding.

“I have my general budget that funds specifically classroom activities so we’ve decided over time to give certain departments and courses a certain percentage of the overall budget,” Harrell said. Every department gets a certain budget to spend on basic everyday school supplies.

At Lodi Unified School District’s most recent board meeting, a concerned parent of a Bear Creek student brought up issues regarding Bear Creek’s FFA farm’s lack of electricity. The FFA program gives students the opportunity to raise animals on campus to compete in the state fair.

Students are required to come to school every morning and every night in order to properly care for their animal. Unfortunately, the farm in which the animals are kept has no electricity, which creates problems for students.

“For certain animals you have to go out there really early in the morning or really late at night to feed them and take care of them and it’s dark sometimes when you go out there,” senior Jannie Ford said. “It’s hard and it’s not safe out there because there are no cameras or lights.”

The farm has no security or surveillance, which puts the animals and equipment at risk.

“My freshman year, our farm was broken into and a turkey was stolen and things were vandalized,” Ford said.

“What we’re doing right now is problem solving and analyzing what do we need, what are our resources and how can we support the growth of the program because we really do want to support students who are raising animals, but we’re not necessarily where we need to be to have things be safe,” Harrell said.
Since most of Bear Creek’s programs receive a budget from the school, they are able to afford a variety of activities specialized for each group. However, Bear Creek’s AVID department has found itself to be at a huge disadvantage.

“We don’t get any funding whatsoever,” AVID teacher Kristen Graham said. “We do all of our own funding.”

AVID gives students the opportunity to go on field trips and college tours. However, students are asked to contribute financially to these trips.
“No one should be prevented from going on a trip because you cannot pay,” Harrell said. “If you can’t then we will cover it.”

Although AVID does not receive a budget, they do receive some funding. The school received about $56,000 in supplemental money, which is disbursed throughout the school.

With all of the financial obstacles these programs are facing, fundraising ultimately leaves the success of Speech and Debate, FFA, and AVID in the hands of the students.