New club Pencils of Promise seeks to aid students around globe

Katherine Schurer, staff reporter

GBS students founded a chapter of Pencils of Promise (POP) in March to support the non-profit organization that works to provide educational resources for students across the globe.

Due to the infancy of the club, the group members chose the goal of raising $1,000 by the end of this school year, according to junior Yenny Ha, president of POP. The money raised went to Ghana, Guatemala, and Laos.

“It’s a big school and we know that we can make an impact in the world,” Ha said. “Our goal [for this year] is to raise [funds] to give teachers resources.”

According to Ha, she feels compelled to partake in the POP initiative because of the educational opportunities she has received throughout her childhood.

“You can’t put a price on education; it unlocks so many factors in a kid’s life,” Ha said. “I wanted to give everyone else the same opportunity [and be able] to provide happiness and creativity for those students.”

Sandy Mulligan, POP sponsor and English teacher says the club provides students with the ability to identify an issue in the world and work towards ending it. Students in the club are compassionate for helping those in need, and this club simplifies the process, Mulligan says.

“South is a service-minded school and community where students have compassion for those who are not receiving all that they could and should,” Mulligan said. “Teenagers here have the kind of mindset where they don’t just wish things were better for people but they take practical steps to make it happen.”

Mulligan says the students always possess a positive attitude, no matter the size of the task they are attempting to tackle.

“It really burdens me and I feel like this is one tangible way of being able to reach out and let them know that people from around the world are aware and do care and want to do something to provide for their needs,” Mulligan said. “Their minds are growing and they’re at an age where they have a lot of questions about the world around them and they’re hungry to learn, and to let those years pass by in poverty or with the lack of resources is so saddening.”

According to Mulligan, POP has had multiple meetings and students arrive eagerly at each and every one. At the first meeting, they discussed fundraising and what they can do to play their part. At the second meeting, they talked about organizations they might want to work with.

“It’s been really neat to see students join us just from hearing the morning announcements or just hearing we’re a club that wants to reach kids from areas around the world that are under-resourced,” Mulligan said. “They feel burdened because children that rightfully deserve a solid education, do not have access to it and so they felt compelled to join our Monday meetings. That, to me, is inspiring.”

According to Ha, the club will be putting money towards purchasing Popsockets, a trending cell phone accessory.

“Using the money we made from the bake sales, we will purchase the Popsockets,” Ha said. “[They are] selling them to us for five dollars and we can sell them for $10. We make double the profits and will make $300.”

With the money raised from bake sales and fundraising, the club has high hopes for the future. According to Mulligan, members are thinking of raising $2,000 next year. However, for the future, they would like to fund the construction of a school in Ghana, Guatemala, or Laos. Although this project may cost up to $35,000, the members of Pencils of Promise are optimistic in their goals.

“Students who are meeting with us in Pencils of Promise have such sincere heartfelt desire to reach those kids,” Mulligan said. “For each meeting, [they] arrive with enthusiasm about the cause and about contributing a solution to some part of the country in order to help them.”