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Planting a seed of giving

Donations from SEEDS fundraiser to support the red crescent

Oct. 7, 2023 marked the start of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East. Many students and families in the Grosse Pointe community have been personally impacted and feel called to help in this time of crisis. The Student Empowerment: Education for a Diverse Society (SEEDS) began fundraising after much discussion of the conflict.

Joining SEEDS during the 2022-2023 school year, Katie Peck ’25 is one of two student leaders of the club. Drawn to the club because of the open discussion format, Peck has continued to promote an open atmosphere for all students to voice their thoughts and ideas.

“Our discussions were important, and it helped me learn about what was happening in the world,” Peck said. “In SEEDS we often discuss current events and how they impact and reflect society. When we first started talking about the Israel-Hamas conflict, it was definitely a very heavy topic.”

Following in the footsteps of former student leaders, Peck saw the conflict as an opportunity to make change and start a fundraiser. Wanting to support those affected by the conflict proved to be a task that required many thoughtful discussions to decide how to proceed.

“Last year SEEDS ran a fundraiser for humanitarian aid in Ukraine,” Peck said. “Our group members this year had decided we wanted to do something similar to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians who have been suffering as a result of the Israel-Hamas conflict. We recognized that tension was high surrounding this issue, but we decided we couldn’t stand by as innocent people were being displaced, injured or murdered.”

Encouraging discussions around topics that might be higher tension, counselor Nick Bernbeck is one of two facility supervisors for the club. Initially pulled into the club at its creation, Bernbeck strives to give power to the students during their meetings.

“I think it’s really good to learn how to have conversations about heavier topics and the two student advisors are fantastic at listening to everybody,” Bernbeck said. “They’re making sure everybody feels like their voice is heard, making sure that they are appropriately talking with one another.”

Using his role as a counselor, Bernbeck has been supporting students for six years in SEEDS. Integrating his professional skills and respect for students, he is able to find a balance that encourages students to make change.

“It’s really important to allow open dialogue,” Bernbeck said. “It’s me in the corner, trying to just be there if I’m needed. I want it to be about them, they all know that I’m there to support them, as an advisor and as a counselor, because sometimes you can talk about things that, you know, are maybe a little bit more sensitive.”

Through the support of faculty and SEEDS members, the club was able to start their fundraising during the month of November. Finding different ways to raise money and encourage the student population, many different fundraisers have been set up with the proceeds going to a charity of the clubs choosing.

“We have been selling Mr.C’s breadsticks almost every week,” Peck said. “We also are planning our ‘Tape a Teacher’ event. We will be hosting this event on Dec. 21, the Thursday before winter break. To finish off our fundraising, we are also looking into hosting penny wars for all the grades after midterms.”

While planning these events SEEDS also had many discussions about where the proceeds should go, landing on donating the money to the International Red Crescent. Peck found that the charity, which is not politically associated, was doing good work for those impacted by the war.

“Similar to the Red Cross, we knew that we could trust that this donation would actually be helping people,” Peck said. “The International Red Crescent is helping those who have been injured, displaced, or in need of various supplies.”

While working to make the most of their fundraising efforts, SEEDS planned their fundraisers at times that would be the most accessible to students. Planning these events during class and at lunches draws in students who might not have otherwise known about it. Vivian Rizer ’24 often supports the efforts of clubs and organizations at South.

“I do sometimes think about where the money goes,” Rizer said. “Most are school fundraisers, so I feel okay spending my money towards them. The SEEDS fundraiser is so accessible because it’s right here in our halls.”

Continuing to do new charity events, Peck is excited for the ‘Tape a Teacher’ event and is optimistic that the money they have raised will be going toward a needed group. SEEDS accepts new members all year long and believes that students should get involved with current events. Supporting the International Red Cross is a huge event for SEEDS and their mission to help the innocent.

“There have been serious casualties and shortages of medical supplies, fuel, water and food as a result of the ongoing conflict,” Peck said. “The International Red Crescent will be responding to these crises, which is why we chose to support their efforts with our current fundraiser.”

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Dailey Jogan '24
Dailey Jogan '24, Supervising Page Editor
A master of taste-testing around the Pointes, Dailey Jogan ’24 is an expert at broadening her horizons. Not only is she a summer lifeguard, Jogan does swim team during the year. Along with that, she has the brain and the brawn, considering she’s one of this year's third-year staffers and a Supervising Page Editor. She loves her position for many reasons, but the artistry of Tower is what hooks her the most. “I love the creativity aspect because I feel so much of school is about getting to the unit test, while Tower is really about creating something new each week,” Jogan said. “Especially with page design.” Finally, Jogan takes the wisdom of being a senior and shares it through her work as a Link Crew leader. “When I was a freshman, Link Crew was on Zoom, so it was zero percent hopeful,” Jogan said. “Becoming a link crew leader myself, I want to help freshmen realize that high school is more than just a checklist of assignments, and there is fun to be had if you allow it to happen.”

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