SHS hosts coin drive for school destroyed by North Bay fires

November 28, 2017 — by Anishi Patel and Ananya Vadlakonda

The Santa Rosa campus of the Anova School, a nonprofit program for students with autism, was destroyed during the North Bay wildfires in early October. Educators there have been working hard to hold classes at neighboring campuses and keep the program open, in addition to starting their rebuilding efforts.

To support this cause, Saratoga High’s Leadership class recently held a two-week coin drive, raising $1,300.

In thanks, Beth Giotta, an administrator from the Anova School, came to campus recently and spoke to the Leadership class. She explained the difficulties Anova’s students and staff are encountering in attempting to rebuild their campus.

Giotta said that although a few of Anova’s classrooms escaped the fire, its 120 students are unable to return to the campus because the city still has safety concerns.

The Anova School has also created a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $475,000 for rebuilding. Currently, the donations amount to just under $150,000. But, according to Giotta, GoFundMe takes about 7 percent of the donated amount. That means  Anova benefits more from direct donations, like the ones from SHS.

Normally, the school’s insurance would have covered any damage, but the fires devastated so much of the campus that Anova’s insurance doesn’t cover all the costs of rebuilding.

The drive was originally scheduled to end after just one week. But after having students promote the fundraiser in front of the school, along with placing coin jars in classrooms, the fundraiser received immense support, and the leadership class voted to extend the drive to two weeks.

“This has all been done by kids,” Leadership teacher Matt Torrens said. “Kids helping kids, which I think is really cool.”

After becoming aware of the tragedy the Anova School faced, senior Stacey Chen, a member of the outreach commission, said she and others decided to do something to help the devastated school.

“I know that we won't be able to immediately revive the school,” Chen said, “but I certainly know that we are contributing to helping rebuild the school one step at a time.”


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