Community Council organizes donation celebration


Davis Marks/Chronicle

Students dunk Math Teacher Joshua Helston and enjoy pizza during the event organized by Community Council.

Davis Marks and Iona Lee

Community Council hosted an all-school event during Conference Time on Friday to celebrate over 4,000 student donations during its November Thanksgiving Drive. The event featured free pizza for students in Upper School Dean Sharon Cuseo’s dean group and a dunk tank for all students to dunk teachers.

Community Council advisor and Upper School Counselor Michelle Bracken said Community Council turned the Thanksgiving Drive into a competition between dean groups as a way to encourage November donations. The dean group who donated the most canned food and hygiene products was promised a prize of free pizza and the chance to throw at the teacher dunk tank.

“Community Council wanted to motivate students to donate cans for the [drive],” Bracken said. “The idea to have a competition between dean groups and reward the dean group that donated the most with a dunk tank and pizza party came from Community Council brainstorming. The goal was to acknowledge that [Cuseo’s] students donated over 4,000 cans, and [serve as] a motivator to encourage participation.”

As students from Cuseo’s dean group grabbed pizza, the student body gathered on Munger plaza to get a chance at dunking Math Teacher Kathleen O’Connor, Science Teacher Ryan Ellingson and Math Teacher Joshua Helston.

Grady Ramberg ’24, a student in Cuseo’s dean group, said he enjoyed being rewarded with the event.

“I feel like the pizza was a great reward for winning the drive,” Ramberg said. “I enjoyed watching my teachers getting dunked. The Thanksgiving Drive was a good way to help the Los Angeles community and show our thanks for the privilege we have as [Harvard-Westlake] students.”

Emily Sikina ‘23 said the event was a memorable experience and hopes to see more in the future.

“I thought it was really fun and I love how [the school] organizes such events,” Silkina said. “I hope to see more in the future.”

Bracken said there will be similar events in the future to encourage participation in community service-related events due to the recent event’s success.

“I believe that since this event and reward was a success, there will be more in the future,” Bracken said. “Community Council will need to do more brainstorming about how to increase engagement in events and what types of motivators work best.”