Students at Yale Secondary staying up late for a good cause

All-nighter fundraiser will help to build schools in Sierra Leone

Yale students have fun during their all-nighter fundraiser.

Yale students have fun during their all-nighter fundraiser.

On Friday night, about 300 enthusiastic students from Yale Secondary showed up for the school’s second annual all-night fundraising event, Live to Give.

Students rotated through 10 activity rooms throughout the building, including Hunger Games-themed activities, glow-in-the-dark dodgeball, a candy room, a mechanical bull ride and more.

Each student that attended had to raise at least $50, which will go towards building schools in Sierra Leone via the Canadian charity organization Free the Children.

Doug Primrose, a teacher at Yale, said they have nearly reached this year’s fundraising goal of $20,000.

Last year’s inaugural bash, billed as Dare to Care, raised nearly $20,000 for clean water and sanitation projects in Kenya.

The 61 students in Yale’s senior leadership classes handle the planning and execution of the event, with teachers coming alongside to provide guidance.

Celina Knelsen, one of the student organizers, said they have been working hard on the event for about a month, with Grade 11 and 12 leadership students arranging the various activity rooms and about seven Grade 12 students planning the overall event.

“This is our big global initiative,” said Soraya Rajabally, one of the senior leadership teachers. “It’s about looking beyond our own parameters and giving back.”

Promoting positive change, both at home and abroad, helps the students expand their worldview, Rajabally said.

“As a teenager, we were all there, and it was always all about us,” she noted. “The point of these leadership classes is to get them thinking outside of that, and to take that with them all the way through life.”

“It changes you as a person,” Yale senior Kaitie Szabo said, reflecting on her involvement with Live to Give.

“I think it’s made me more passionate and more inspired to make a change and be a better person. You watch what you do now. Even just having a glass of water, it’s like, ‘Wow. Some people don’t even have that.’ ”