Sebastian River High students give big to help Rotary

SEBASTIAN – More than 40 Sebastian River High School students helped collect $2,000 for the Sebastian Rotary’s Shelter Box program – a check they delivered at a special luncheon Thursday.

“I felt like I was part of something big,” said junior Stephan Clark – bigger than the three sports he plays for the school. Clark, and 44 other students part of the Advancement Via Individual Development program at the high school, took up collections from their fellow students and teachers to raise money to help the Haiti earthquake relief efforts.

Athletic Director Michael Stutzke, a fellow Sebastian Rotarian, told the students about the Rotary’s Shelter Box program, which provides a box of supplies stocked to aid a family of 10 for a month.

Each box costs $1,000 and with the students’ effort, the Rotary can purchase two to send to Haiti.

“Thank you for your efforts,” Rotary President Chris Pinson told the students, adding that the Sebastian Rotary is a small club and raising funds in these economic times can be a challenge.

AVID Coordinator Wendy Palmer said the kids put together a commercial for the school’s TV station promoting the fund-raising effort. They also decorated collection cans and distributed them to classrooms, asking each student to chip in $1.

“They took it on full force,” Palmer said. “It’s a big undertaking.”

“We’re so proud of these students,” she also said.

Taquan McDew, a junior, said that being part of the check-presenting team showed him “how hard work pays off.”

“It meant a lot,” junior Michael Williams said of helping to present the check to the Sebastian Rotary.

Lakiesha Anderson, a junior, said it was nice to see all the effort they put into the collection pay off.

“I just felt good,” she said of being able to help.

Palmer said that the AVID students are continuing other community service projects, including a recycling effort at the school. Every Friday, the students go from class to class collecting their decorated paper recycling tubs.

Already, the students have filled two large recycling bins with discarded papers that would have otherwise wound up in the trash.

For more information about the Shelter Box program or Sebastian Rotary, call (772) 913-5030 or visit

The Sebastian Rotary meets Thursdays at noon at River Grille, 480 US 1, in Sebastian.

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