‘We have so much’ Dirigo High School students raise funds for Haitians

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DIXFIELD — Two local youth groups, along with most students at Dirigo High School, have joined together to raise $1,200 for the Haitian relief effort.

For Student Council treasurer Kirstin Blood, the fundraising began when the council was planning for the school’s annual Black Mountain Day last fall.

A combination of a jump in the cost to bring all students to the Rumford mountain for a day of activities, and the devastating earthquake in Haiti, led the Student Council to give the money raised to the Haitian effort.

“We discussed the problems in Haiti and how bad we felt. We talked about having our own winter carnival and donating at least $600 to the Haiti fund,” said Blood. “We wanted to make an impact. It’s important to help. We have so much.”

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The proceeds from all the high school dances, including the winter carnival semi-formal dance, went into the fund.

“Rather than one or two people doing something on their own for Haiti, this was a way for the whole school to help,” Blood said.

For Kirby Averill, the mission of the Rumford Rotary Interact Club is to provide help where needed.

The decision to raise funds for Haiti was prompted by the death of a friend of a former Dixfield Interact member.

Averill said a friend of Kristen Harvey, a 2009 graduate of Dirigo and a past Interact member, was on a mission project in Haiti when the Jan. 12 earthquake struck. Harvey’s friend, Brittany Gangle, was killed, said Averill.

The local Interact Club decided to dedicate the money raised from Dirigo students through a penny and change drive in Gangle’s memory, Averill said.

Dirigo students donated $300 during the drive. The Interact Club then matched that amount, bringing the total to $600.

The two gifts were given to American Red Cross representative Eric Lynes on Tuesday.

Lynes, from the Waterville office, will return to Dirigo High School next month to talk with students and present a slide show on Haiti.

The Student Council also assists in many other causes such as sponsoring the Gift of Giving during the Christmas season when 40 Dirigo Elementary School children receive gifts, and ongoing efforts to help ill students. The Interact Club also participates in Bowl for Kids, which raises money for the Big Brother/Big Sister program and sponsors winter fun nights at Black Mountain, among other things.

Principal Michael Poulin said the students made some great efforts to help those affected by the Haitian earthquake.

“The ideas came from the students, they took the lead and did it,” he said.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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