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DLHS raises more than $3,000 for Haiti

DLHS teacher Mike Labine presents a $1,636.91 check to Sandy Glas of the Minn-Kota Chapter of the American Red Cross.1 / 2
Detroit Lakes High School students held "Be a Hero for Haiti" last week, and raised more than $3,000 -- $1,500 of which was donated to the TeacHaiti program and $1,636.91 to the Minn-Kota Chapter of the American Red Cross. Interact and Key Club students sold 673 "Haiti Heroes" T-shirts and gave the $1,500 raised to Denise Fredrickson on behalf of TeacHaiti.2 / 2

A major earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12. Seeing the devistation, Detroit Lakes High School students decided they needed to do something to help the people of Haiti.

Last week, the DLHS Interact, Key Club and Seminar 9 joined together for a Be a Hero for Haiti Week fund-raiser.

"Sometimes the perception of high school students is not always real positive," DLHS principal Steve Morben said. "But we challenge that here at Detroit Lakes High School. We want to express to our kids that it's important to give back, not just to our community and school, but, in this case, to an international catastrophy that happened."

The Key Club and Interact students Kenzie Nielsen, Kathryn Schumacher and Bailey Jordan designed and sold 672 "Haiti Heroes" tie dyed T-shirts. Their efforts raised $1,500, which was donated to the TeacHaiti program, a charitable organization dedicated to bringing better and more accessible education to the children of Haiti. The program was founded by Miquette Denie, a former DLHS exchange student. Denie also returns to Detroit Lakes once a year to raise funds for TeacHaiti.

DLHS freshmen in the Seminar 9 program, a freshman transition course that helps the students become acquainted with high school life, decided to do a "pay it forward" activity, according to English teacher Anne Anderson.

"They talk about topics such as what's DLHS all about, what's being a high school student all about, what's the difference between being a high school student and a middle school student," Morben said. "It's basically a lot of the thing you think schools should do, but we really just don't have a place for that to exist, and that's where seminar courses can fill those gaps."

Anderson said the Seminar 9 program is always on the lookout for a project where the students can be giving and selfless -- helping the school, community or, in this case, the world.

"We want our kids to extend themselves beyond themselves without reward," she said.

As part of Haiti Week, Seminar 9 students sold Dairy Queen Dilly Bars at the high school.

Science teacher Paul Lakin said he approached Dairy Queen owner Lee Kensinger for some gift certificates for a raffle. Kensinger told him he'd been looking for a way to help out Haiti, and donated more than 300 Dilly Bars for the students to sell.

"He said, 'That should be more than enough,'" Lakin said. "Those lasted about a day and a half."

Kensinger made two more trips back to the high school that week to deliver more Dilly Bars. The students ended up selling and consuming 942 Dilly Bars and raised $689 from those sales alone.

Students bought raffle tickets to win more than 100 items donated by many local merchants. Students also bought $1 hat tickets in order to wear a hat during the school day, which has been outlawed at DLHS.

Every day during the week, a bucket run was made to each DLHS classroom to collect change from students and teachers. Change buckets were also passed around during home athletic events last week.

In all, the week-long Seminar 9 fund-raiser brought in $1,636.91, which was given to the Minn-Kota Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Affording the students a lesson in giving made Haiti week a huge success. The $1,600 raised for the Red Cross was just icing on the cake, Anderson said.

"It was fun to watch students step up and sign up for committees and take off and really do the job," she said.

Because of the tremendous need for rebuilding in Haiti, Anderson said last week's fund-raiser probably won't be the end of DLHS giving. An open school big-event game night, which was supposed to be held as part of Haiti Week, is still in the works, and she speculated more fund-raisers will be held in the future.

"When (the students) see what they're doing is making a difference in their community and beyond, hopefully it gets them thinking about continuing that practice when they become adults," Morben said.