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Staples students agree it pays to lend a hand

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Olivia Crosby

For many Staples students, doing community service is just as valuable as making Honor Roll or dominating FCIACs. Although charities like Builders Beyond Borders and the County Assemblies require that participants raise money or make a donation, students say this doesn’t make the experience any less charitable.

Through Builders Beyond Borders (B3), teenagers are given the opportunity to participate in local and global community service projects, including 9-day trips abroad to build facilities in overlooked communities.

According to the B3 Website, volunteers perform approximately 20,000 hours of community service each year, yet each student must raise approximately $3000 for the overseas trip, including an initial deposit of $600. However, students say that the money is spent only on the bare necessities: food, water, shelter, and building materials.

Julia Greene ’15, an active participant in B3 for two years, said that on last year’s trip to Guyana, the money was spent mostly on hammocks and food.

Greene added that, although some people criticize B3 trips as being just a vacation, it’s anything but, as students spend the trips building roads and schools.

Nikhita Shankar ’15 agreed. “It’s not like we’re paying to stay in a five star hotel,” she said. “We stay in schools or churches, and we go there to do work.”

On the other hand, some believe that the money raised by B3 could be put to better use by funding local building projects.

“If the goal of the project was to simply build bridges and pathways, the money that is spent on airfare and food would be put to better use as funding for local infrastructure projects,” Brandon Rakowski ’16 said.

Another charity that aims to give back to the community but requires payment is the County Assemblies.

The organization holds two charity dances each year, the Counties Ball and the Red and White Ball. In order to attend the events, each couple must pay $105. Meanwhile, the average price of a formal gown is $170, and renting a stretch limo can cost up to $15 per person.

Board member Susan Kobylinski explained that all of the proceeds, after expenses, and deposits for next year’s dances are donated to local charities. The four student ambassadors who represent Westport on the board have chosen to allocate a portion of this year’s proceeds to Al’s Angels.

Kobylinski noted the importance of the organization, which raised approximately $32,000 last year.

However, some students, like Christopher Mckinney ’14, argue that because giving money to Counties is a requirement, not a choice, it isn’t really that charitable.

“I understand an argument can be made that it is less of a charitable act, because students aren’t taking on the initiative themselves to donate,” Mckinney said.

 

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About the Contributors
Rachel Treisman, Web Features Editor
Since the time that she could remember, Rachel Treisman ’15 always loved reading and writing. And with a long list of titles read, she kept track of her favorite words that she found in books. Inklings was always something that Treisman ’15 wanted to be a part of. After stopping involvement in sports when she was younger she had a desire to be part of a team. “I always tried to be involved but didn’t know I had to take the Intro to Journalism,” said Treisman ’15 “I tried to make graphics and help out in other ways but there was not much I could do” So, she signed up to take the Introduction course her sophomore year and then became a staff writer last year. Aside from her role as the Web Features Editor for Inklings and keeping her portfolio full of stories, Treisman also has found the time to start and lead the Circle of Women Club at Staples. A club that helps raise money and awareness to send girls in developing countries to school. Treisman has been involved in the organization for a few years now, following her fundraising for her Bat Mitzvah project. “I was trying to think of a project and my dad asked me what I was thankful for,” said Treisman ’15 “And the big thing that I could think of, was school.” And now, she can add Inklings to her list of things to be thankful for and proud of.  
Michael Mathis, Web Opinions Editor
On any given day, Michael Mathis, Staples senior and Inklings’ Web Opinions Editor, is campaigning for governors, in the Inklings room editing stories, or on-stage, performing a stand-up comedy act. Mathis started journalism as a sophomore and, ever since then, seamlessly meshed his three passions: political activism, stand-up comedy, and Inklings. As Web Opinions Editor, Mathis is a column-generating machine.  He also edits students’ articles, and helps students brainstorm. Michael says that he enjoys combining his skills and interests, especially for humorous columns. He described one story that stood out about the importance of this generation not growing up too fast, saying, “I always felt that I was in two different worlds with my stand-up and my journalism, but I was able to incorporate my humor and I felt like I had crafted a stand-up routine in a column.” His background in politics also helps with journalism, as the two hobbies share similar values. Mathis says that the traits that create an effective political leader -- like his favorite politician, Teddy Roosevelt -- are similar to those of a journalist’s. Mathis said that whether it be a leader or a journalist they, “Are not afraid to say the unsayable and roll up their sleeves,” adding that the common thread throughout his stand-up comedy, political experiences, and journalism is “not following the limits of authority or society.”
Olivia Crosby, Creative Director
When Olivia Crosby ’15 was a freshman, she signed up to make graphics for Inklings, but was never asked to help out. She came in three separate times that year, but still was never asked to join the staff. But, later in the year her talents became noticed. “I took intro to journalism, and during the copyright unit we had to find a legal graphic for a story; I was way too lazy to find something that was legal, so I just made my own. After that Inklings asked me to join,” Crosby said. Crosby’s persistence and drive has allowed her to evolve from staff artist during her freshman and sophomore years, to creative director junior year, to her current position as graphics editor. While Crosby primarily draws for Inklings, she prefers making pottery, which she says helps relieve stress. When Crosby can’t be found in the art or Inklings rooms, she is often found doing flips and twists into the Staples pool. After years of gymnastics and multiple injuries, as a freshman, Crosby transferred her skills from the gym to the pool and joined the Staples diving team. “I love being on the team,” Crosby said. “It’s exciting and so thrilling knowing how hard you'll push yourself even if you don't think you can do it.”

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