I’d Buy That for a Dollar!


Did Charity Week inadvertently teach the wrong lessons?

Paikowski - Editorial Pic - ResizedBy Miranda Paikowski, Current Staff

Last week WBHS students successfully raised $26,000 for charity and learned valuable lessons about generosity.

Or did they?

Each year the school collects thousands of dollars from Charity Week, and a number of organizations benefit from these donations. Charity Week is an extremely competitive and exciting time for students and teachers alike, as bets are made and rivalries begin.

Although significant amounts of money are obtained, there is something about Charity Week that may be harmful to students.

Very few people seem to donate money because they feel a moral obligation to do so.  A majority of the money is given strictly because students are promised something in return, whether it be a pizza party, a homework pass, or seeing their teacher wearing an embarrassing costume.

In other words, students aren’t giving.  They are buying.

It is indisputable that bribery results in more money for charity. However, a dollar given by a student who donates because they desire an end to an incurable disease is more meaningful than a dollar given by a student who just really wants a “free” chocolate donut.

The school needs to keep in mind that in addition to raising as much money as possible for charity, it must also be a priority to teach students the value of selflessness. Currently, there is a blatant emphasis on collecting money, but isn’t the goal of teaching moral lessons more important?  Is it possible that in our zeal to meet the goal of raising large sums, we are undermining the more important goal of Charity Week?

The high school should not ignore that raising money is important, but also needs to keep in mind that the school’s first responsibility is to educate students, which includes teaching students about the virtues of altruism.

Very few people seem to donate money because they feel a moral obligation to do so.  A majority of the money is given strictly because students are promised something in return.

Clearly there needs to be some form of competition in the school in order to raise a decent amount of money, but some ways in which donating is encouraged go too far. Too many prizes do not benefit students’ character.

For example, students should not bring in baked goods to sell to their peers in order to raise some extra cash. This is a form of fundraising, not charity. It takes away from the true goal of Charity Week, and that is, by definition, to willingly give help to those in need.

Also, some of the prizes teachers award their students get out of hand. The treats should not interfere with students’ learning. Watching a movie for a class period or getting out of a test should not be acceptable awards, as they waste valuable class time and do not help a student’s education.

The school can still collect a significant amount of money without these acts of bribery.

For example, some teachers promised to wear hilarious costumes to school. This is a good model for how the school can gain money for those in need without having students bypass the important lesson of giving for the right reasons.  This provides students with a considerable amount of amusement, without having them directly receive a treat. Competition is created to raise more money, but not at a harmful level.

Charity Week can be seen as a time when the school hopes to donate as much money as possible, no matter how that money is acquired. It is imperative that Charity Week also serves as a time when students’ eyes are opened to the fact that around the world, people are suffering in awful conditions and have far more pressing concerns than “too much homework.”

West Bend undoubtedly does outstanding things for remarkable organizations during Charity Week each year. Next year, hopefully the school will come together in a more pure, sincere way to achieve absolute success. Let us show people that West Bend students care enough to truly give, not just be bribed.


Filed under Viewpoint

2 responses to “I’d Buy That for a Dollar!

  1. Jason Penterman

    Offering a prize for a donation is historically not unusual

  2. Angela Neuser

    This is a thoughtful, well-written piece with many good points. I wonder, though, if an absence of religion in our public schools and a general lack of altruistic modeling by parents in this day and age might by the real problem. I agree that people should not need a reward to give, but celebrating the givers of our society isn’t a bad thing. Keep up the good work, young lady!

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