So why the sudden change of heart from the toy drive? Wright explained that this year Community Council wanted to extend its holiday project not only to students, but also to parents. She assumes that parents will primarily be the bidders in the silent auction. In addition, by asking various clubs to donate a basket, Community Council can ensure that nearly every facet of the DHS student body has the chance to participate in this holiday project.
Yet another reason for the change to the auction was the drop in success of the toy drive. According to Buckley, DHS used to be one of Social Services’ biggest contributors during the holiday season. However, in the past few years, this has not been the case.
Community Council’s holiday tradition about six years ago used to be a holiday dance. Students would bring gift cards instead of admission. During those years, Community Council would bring in hundreds for Social Services. However, like all trends, that one faded. “The dances became unpopular,” Buckley said. Community Council thus took on the gift drive. But, unfortunately, not many students brought in gifts. “Not a lot of high school students had toys to give away,” Carroll said. Therefore, the group took the initiative and planned its brand new holiday auction.
Wright said that she has heard conversations about doing an auction for some time now. The idea for the auction came to her after speaking with a teacher about a similar event. “There was word of mouth of having an auction, and we figured this was the best purpose for it,” Wright said. Those who attend the auction will be silently bidding on a variety of baskets. “We’re looking for expensive gift baskets with a theme,” Community Council faculty adviser Mr. Chris Buckley said. Community Council is inviting all local businesses in town to donate a basket. Wright said that these baskets will likely contain gifts cards to local stores and eateries, like, for example, Uncle’s Deli and Robeks.
We’ve never done it before so we don’t really know how the community is going to react to it,” Mr. Buckley said.
All DHS clubs are also being asked to donate a basket of their choice. Neirad will be donating one that contains a yearlong subscription to its publication, a Neirad t-shirt, a promise to profile the student who purchases it, as well as some little holiday knickknacks. Students will have the chance to volunteer their own services and auction them off. Any student with a knack for cooking or tutoring is encouraged to volunteer their time. You may be asking yourself where the ‘charity’ aspect of the auction fits in. Well, according to senior Community Council President Niya Wright, all the proceeds from the auction will go towards purchasing toys and gift cards for less fortunate children. “We will raise money for toys to be given to the Darien Youth Center,” Wright said.
Buckley said he expects that Community Council will primarily be purchasing gift cards, rather than toys. He said that the reason for that is because the majority of kids who are neglected during the holiday season are teenagers. By offering them gift cards, they will have the freedom to purchase any items that they want. “I think it is great that as a group of high school students we are giving back to other teenagers. It gives us more motivation to make sure the auction thrives,” Senior Class Officer and three-year Community Council member Alexa Carroll said.
Community Council has worked extremely hard on this new project and has hopes for a superb outcome. Carroll, like all other Community Council members, has high expectations for auction. “I think it is going to be successful. We’ve never done anything like it before,” Carroll said. Community Council is aiming to get as many baskets donated as possible.
“We have a letter that we are sending out to [DHS] clubs,” Wright said. Wright explained that the Community Council Volunteer Committee will be going to go into town to ask local businesses if they are interested in donating a basket.
DHS students: if you cannot attend the auction or do not wish to purchase a basket, Community Council still encourages you to give back this holiday season.
Anyone is welcome to donate toys or gift cards to Social Services on their own time. In the wise words of Buckley: “If you can give, you should give.” All students, parents, and faculty are encouraged to attend the first ever DHS Holiday Auction on December 14, 2011, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the lobby outside the auditorium.
Links to other recent Community Council initiatives:
Admit None: Community Council’s Scary Movie Night in the Courtyard
Busting a Move: A Review of Dancing with the Teachers