Helping a Community R.I.S.E. – FHHS Activities Raises $40,000 and Volunteers 7,000 Hours for Various Charities

Posted on 06/07/2017
Helping a Community R.I.S.E. – FHHS Activities Raises $40,000 and Volunteers 7,000 Hours for Various Charities

At Francis Howell High School (FHHS), students and staff adhere to a motto – R.I.S.E., focusing on Respect, Integrity, Sportsmanship, and Excellence. Excellence and sportsmanship in games and matches are certainly desired, but what is more important to the FHHS Vikings is how they meet the other two requisites, respect and integrity. During the 2016-17 school year, Howell activities, clubs, and sports were involved in the community through outreach and fundraising efforts to benefit multiple charities. And this year, those facets of the program were truly on the rise.

FHHS Activities Director Sean Erwin said, “Being involved in an activity, club, or sport at Francis Howell High School is more than just competing in that activity. Our Activities Department prides itself on developing young men and women beyond the sports and activities in which they are competing. Leadership development, and community service and outreach, are all vital components of being involved in Viking activities and sports.”

FHHS Head Swimming Coach (Boys and Girls) Anna Jovanovic said, "At Francis Howell, we do not just look for growth academically and athletically. We strive for overall personal development and growth as well. Getting our student-athletes involved with the community helps teach them more than what can be learned in the classroom or pool. It's vital for our students’ character growth."

In total, Howell programs contributed 51 service projects over the course of the 2016-17 school year, which benefitted 35 different charities. Students helped raise $40,034 for those charities, and performed 6,949 hours of community service. “Over the course of the past two school years,” Erwin said, “the FHHS Activities Department has completed over 12,000 hours of service and donated over $65,000 to charities. The activities, clubs, and sports at Howell look to expand their outreach and support in the community during the 2017-18 school year.”

Girls Volleyball player Makenzie Thoman said, “Being involved in the community is important because it not only helps others, but also creates an atmosphere that brings together our team and pulls even closer that bond that we strive to have throughout the season.”

Girls swimmer Madison Nguyen agreed, “Community service allows us to give back, but it also gives us a way to connect with everyone.”

Graduating senior Emma Witter played volleyball for FHHS, and she added, “I think (service is) a great way to build teamwork within our program, and at the same time have a positive impact and connect with the community that supports us.”  

Stacey Smith coaches volleyball for the girls’ team, and said, "I believe it is our responsibility to give back to a community that supports us. We try to teach our athletes that their world is so much more than Francis Howell or volleyball, and that their actions – no matter how small – can make a big difference."

For soccer and softball player Megan Tersteeg, it’s a different kind of lesson for the whole team. “Giving back allows us as students to get involved in the community and help amazing organizations and people in need,” Tersteeg said. “Every time our program does something outside our sport, all the students learn the benefits of giving back to the community.”

These student-athletes attend school all morning and afternoon, and then go to practice and games, and then they have to find time to study. To be able to somehow locate even a few minutes for community service says a lot about them. This makes Erwin and the rest of FHHS very proud. “It’s great to see that the focus of our programs,” Erwin said, “goes well beyond academics and the development of skills in our sports and activities. The opportunities and experiences that our student-participants gain from being involved in our community and with various charities is very influential in helping them prepare for life after high school. I’m proud that our programs have been actively engaged in this work and have become passionate about helping others.”

It’s amazing to see what is being created through FHHS activities – a better community that looks out for each other, and doesn’t let life get in the way of improving others’ lives. And the students at FHHS are leading the R.I.S.E.

The 35 programs that FHHS Activities supported during the year included: Backstoppers; Friends of Kids With Cancer; KEEN; Lutheran Senior Services; Make-A-Wish Foundation; Oasis Food Pantry; Susan G Komen Foundation; Siteman Cancer Center; Special Olympics; SPENSA; Toys For Tots; St. Charles County Sharing Meals; and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

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