October 27, 2011 12:33:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- There's easier ways to raise money than organizing a festival, but there's not as much fun in raffles and candy sales.
The 17-member Starkville High School yearbook/newspaper staff prides itself on being creative. So when it came time to organize a fundraiser to cover costs for producing the yearbook and monthly newspaper, the staff decided to hold a fall festival, which is open to the public Thursday from 5-8 p.m. at SHS.
The festival will be held either in the east courtyard or indoors, depending on weather. The festival will include concessions, a trick-or-treat trail, a kissing booth for children, a cake walk, face painting and an apple-bobbing contest. Tickets for booths are 25 cents each.
"We're probably the most ambitious group of students at Starkville High," staff member Bailey Brocato said.
SHS history teacher and publications adviser R.J. Morgan said his staff has a knack for developing unique fundraising ideas. Last Thursday, the staff held a baby sitting day for teachers during a parent/teacher conference workday.
"The main reason we want to do it is we'd like to give the younger kids a chance to have something fun to do and see the school," Morgan said. "At the same time, it is a fundraiser for us. We've got some big goals ahead of us."
The staff hopes to raise $28,000 by the end of the school year. Advertising, yearbook sales and fundraisers contribute to the total, which is currently at $4,000.
The staff is branching into uncharted territory this year as they plan to build a full-color, 160-page yearbook. The SHS yearbook had 48 color pages last year.
The staff also hopes to travel to a regional or national journalism conference in the spring.
Running effective fundraising campaigns to lessen the hit the school district takes to help the staff make up a budget shortfall is important, Morgan said. The staff is shooting to turn a $500 profit from the festival. While the projected revenue will account for 1.8 percent of the total fundraising goal, the time and effort put into creating the festival has been the latest example of staff members relishing their role as the "voice of the school," Morgan said
"I think it's a bold statement for us to take on an endeavor this huge," said Brocato. "It speaks volumes of our staff. We love journalism and we wanted to do something special for our school."
Morgan said SHS teachers and administrators will volunteer time to run booths, while some have baked items for the cupcake and cake walk. Teachers and parents have also donated supplies and candy.
The publications staff has contacted local TV and radio stations and newspapers to promote the festival, in addition to planning and organizing the event.
"We're trying to plan for every eventuality," Morgan said. "We're not sure what to expect."
Staff members will wear Halloween costumes and kids are encouraged to wear costumes during the festival.
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