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TAG Gala Event Raises $17,000

Adults and Staples students alike gathered at the TAG Gala on March 8 and helped raise over $17,000.
Abbey Fernandez
Adults and Staples students alike gathered at the TAG Gala on March 8 and helped raise over $17,000.

This past Saturday, March 8, the Teen Awareness Group (TAG) raised more than $17,000 at its goala event at Shorehaven Country Club in Norwalk. Roughly 140 people attended the event; money raised will be used to further education on drunk driving and other high-risk adolescent behavior.

Extensive amounts of preparation went into the making of the gala, TAG members said.

Gabbie Leblanc ’14, co-president of TAG, said she had a great experience planning the event alongside adults and other TAG members.

Some of our work included: contacting several local businesses for sponsorships, organizing food and entertainment, designing invitations, and putting together about 30 auction items,” LeBlanc said, “We had to be in constant communication with the manager at Shorehaven. It was a lot of work but definitely paid off in the end.”

One of the highlights consisted of a showing of a documentary made by alumnus Jon Karmen ’08. The film showcased five people, two of whom were Staples students who shared their experiences with either themselves or family members who have related to substance-driven casualties.

“The showing of the film along with presentations of TAG events such as Grim Reaper Day allowed people to really get a true understanding about what it is these kids do within the TAG program and why they are so passionate about it,” said the group’s supervisor Chris Lemone.

TAG is now a functioning not-for-profit organization, which allowed the group to open up a bank account outside of Staples and contribute donations from the event. Tag Inc. will soon expand to other towns and schools and will include not only students, but alumni and adults as well.

“We will be partnering with the Westport Police Department and Positive Directions to sponsor a Drug Take Back Box,” said Lemone, “This will be a secure safe-like box located at the police station for people to dispose of medications they no longer want or need.”

Right now, the WPD has one day per year for Westport residents to make use of this box; now the box will be available all 365.

“The event was such a success thanks to everyone who contributed,” said Meghan Lonergan ’14, the other co-president of TAG. “We tried our best to make it one worth remembering.

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Bella Gollomp, Staff Writer
Isabella Gollomp ’15 is a people’s person.  Bella loves people. And people have a habit of loving her back. So it is no surprise that interviews are her favorite part to journalism. “I love getting to sit down with all these interesting people, and being able to hear their story and share that with the world” Gollomp said, calling conducting an interview both a major responsibility and also a great gift. Bella joined Inklings her sophomore year, but said with a laugh, “I didn’t get good until last year.” She’s not so proud of some of her older stuff, but takes it in stride. She knows the bad articles led to the good ones. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? She’s really proud of her article on Andrew Accardi’s passing last year. She says it was so hard to write about such a sad subject, but that she was really invested in getting the story covered right, and in a respectful way. Bella was invited to the Accardi house and sat down with Andrew’s father, Frank. She felt so welcome, even though she was hesitant to take the story at first. It was such an emotional topic, Gollomp says, but she wanted to test herself, and push her limits. “The most important thing in journalism” Gollomp said, “is just taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone to get the best possible story.” Gollomp still talks to Frank Accardi. She gets updates about Andrew’s Army, the charity founded in Accardi’s passing. Bella’s empathy and tact has led her to write harder stories, with more sensitive topics. Her personality lets her make friends on the way.  
Abbey Fernandez, Web Opinions Editor

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