Like any high school publication advisor, I’m just happy if we make it out of the red and back to a zero balance at the end of every school year. We fund the publication primarily by selling the publication, and by selling business ads (thank you for your support).
I hate fundraisers. I hate the organizational, responsible for money, and paperwork end of it. I hate badgering my student staff members to go out and peddle whatever candy, smoked meat, candle, or cookie dough we are selling, knowing full well that they have other things to do like…oh..finish their work on the actual publication. I hate being disappointed in the student staff who don’t do anything– I know those order forms languished in their cars and lockers for a month. I hate dealing with other adults and students who somehow think that my band of teenage girls and I are “professionals” and that whatever they are purchasing from us is anything other than a much needed donation.
I’ve shot down bake sale demand after bake sale and pancake breakfast demand from my brainstorming staff. Mostly because I don’t think my staff and I should be mass producing food for the general public to purchase. We’re clean, but come on! Have you considered how “puppy chow” is made? Also because I have visions of myself being stuck holding the bag, peddling our wares during all the lunch periods or standing alone behind a line of griddles because everyone else had something “better to do.” Teen girl eye roll, combined with exasperated sigh
Finally, one of the girls followed a more logical path and asked why we couldn’t have a spirit night at a local restaurant like the other school groups and sports teams. I begrudgingly told her that we could work with that, but that she would need to research which restaurant would give us the best financial deal.
Forgoing research, she immediately shrieked:
And then the room got really quiet. Either because even after almost 18 weeks of school, they’re still not used to the high pitched shrieking; or because they had an idea of what was coming next.
I said something to the effect of, “We will not be helping or supporting a gay bashing corporation with our publication.”
She was aghast. What did I mean? She’s sweet, naive and…dear God…just a freshman. The rest of the staff chimed in with the exuberance of lions scenting the weakest gazelle in the herd. Indeed why would we support such a thing?!!
I pointed out calmly, rationally, that the company is notoriously outspoken about being anti-gay marriage and equality.
At which point she shrieked, “Because they’re based in strong Christian values!” Foot stomp for emphasis.
What does a teacher/advisor do at that point?
I wussed out.
Out of shock because the student had never come across as extremely religious before. What other kind of person would view Chik-fil-a as a rep for Christianity? Out of exhaustion; it’s the last day before a school break and I’m mentally gearing up for back to back days of familial dysfunction. Out of fear that somewhere in the potential conversation I would be crossing some manner of political/ religious line that is frowned upon in my line of work and that, knowing this student, it would likely be fuel for a dinner time conversation. So I dropped it and let her mumble to herself until she was over it.
However this evening ,Brain keeps cycling back to the exchange and working through comebacks that could have worked like: “Yes, I’ve always enjoyed the Christian value of hating and condemning others.”
or “Hmmmmm, that will give me something to think about when I’m out in the red tent next month being unclean and not touching other people’s stuff.” That one might be a little too obscure.
I can only assume that her outlook no matter how disappointing, like the outlook of most students, is formed from what she hears at home. Knowing that she is essentially a good and kind person with empathy for others, I can hope and assume that someday she’ll create some of her own opinions as her circle of friends and knowledge expands.
Well, either that or… we get all of her college scholarships from Westboro Baptist.