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June 22, 2010 > Community rallies to "Save Fremont Students"

Community rallies to "Save Fremont Students"

By Alissa Gwynn
Photos By Alissa Gwynn

"Honk if you care!" and "We love our teachers-show it!" were phrases proudly displayed on brightly colored posters during an after-school rally at Mission San Jose High School (MSJHS) on Monday, June 14. The rally drew parent volunteers, teachers, and about 100 students, out the day before finals in efforts of raising awareness about the Save Fremont Students (SFS) Campaign.

Save Fremont Students is a grass-roots campaign in partnership with Fremont Education Foundation that is working to raise $4.5 million by July 15 to offset the worst of the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) budget cuts. SFS's goals include saving Music / PE / Science teachers in grades K-6, reducing the planned class size increase in grades K-3, and maintaining lower class sizes in grades 7-12. When making a donation, individuals and families may specify whether they would like their donation to go towards Elementary or Secondary schools.

Originally created by a group of concerned parent volunteers led by Mission Valley Elementary parent Virginia Hom, the organization has already expanded to include a student branch, the SFS workforce. Surprisingly, the SFS workforce was created by four graduating seniors at MSJHS, Rebecca Xing, David Cao, Catherine Lu, and Joy Chen, all of whom will not be personally affected by these budget cuts next year. Even so, Cao says, "Teachers at Mission have given a lot to me; I feel it's not right that these new and passionate teachers are being cut."

Other students at the rally shared similar sentiments; Senior Vikram Sangha said, "We've already experienced firsthand what a lack of resources can do to our education, and we're already [in] a really bad [position]. To go any further than that is unfair to the kids. I think more than anything, a lot of people don't know the severity of the situation, so hopefully, this campaign can at least let people know how serious the situation is." Similarly, upcoming Sophomore Adi Jung says, "[Participating in the rally] is our way of giving back."

Due to rallies like this, SFS has been slowly gaining steam and has collected over $165K. According to Monica Melville, one of the parent volunteers, SFS has contacted and is encouraging school organizations and clubs to hold at least one fundraiser specifically for the campaign. Some students have already taken this suggestion to heart. For example, "Treble Girls" Joy Chen, Audrey Huang, Carrina Lai, Tiffany Li, and Kamya Raja from MSJHS sang at the Fremont Farmers Market on June 13 and collected $335.

Other notable donations include a Mission Valley Elementary fourth grader who donated over $1,000 from his sacred thread ceremony in India, students Niserg Desai, Noopur Desai, Dominic Melville, Chandni Nagda, Elliot Suh, and Ruchika Tirupachur who set up a Lemonade Stand in the Gomes area and collected $66, and Hopkins Jr. High student, Mitchell Broadwin, who donated $500 of his own money.

MSJHS graduating senior Kimberlee Hu says, "Mostly I think it's really important that students feel like they directly make a difference...this is the first [time] I think students feel like they are a part of and can actually change something."

Upcoming fundraisers and events for SFS include:

Barnes & Noble coupons:
July 8-10, and August 20-22
http://sfsworkforce.org/resources/
A portion of net sales will be donated to FEF for the SFS campaign.

Sweet Tomatoes Fundraiser Days:
11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Present flyer at time of sale for donation
Tuesday, June 22 flyer for Irvington attendance area schools
Monday, June 28 flyer for American & Kennedy attendance area schools
Wednesday, July 7 flyer for Washington attendance area schools.

Shopping for Students Day:
Many programs run all summer or multiple days
See link for most updated list of vendors and their participation details: http://www.savefremontstudents.org/shopforstudentsday

Block garage sale on Saturday, June 26:
Volunteers will be taking item donations on Thursday, June 24 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at MSJHS horseshoe location at front of school.
Contact Catherine Lu at lu.of.catherine@gmail.com.

Semi-formal event for the community:
Audition days are the June 23 and 24
2 p.m.-5 p.m.
Contact Lilli Choung at lillichoung@yahoo.com
Places and times for the event to be determined.
Silent auction will be held (artwork and gift certificates)


Check www.saveFremontStudents.org or www.sfsworkforce.org further details.

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