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Seniors honor district mission with $10K donation

Filed in Archive, BCHS, District, District News by on May 22, 2020

When it became clear that the milestone events they had worked on nearly all year long would not take place as planned, members of the senior class at Bethlehem Central High School decided that rather than dwell on lost opportunities, they would make opportunities for others.

In their latest gesture of goodwill during the COVID-19 crisis, the BC Class of 2020 this week donated $10,000 they had raised for the annual Senior Ball and Senior Banquet to two organizations helping members of the Capital Region community cope during the crisis.

Using funds they had raised at the Homecoming Dance last fall and through spirit wear sales, the Senior Council, which represents the class, made the following donations on Monday, May 18:

  • $6,000 – South End Children’s Cafe 
  • $4,000 – Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce Small Business Hardship Fund

“Although we may have missed out on many of the traditional end-of-year celebrations, it is more important to the senior class that we help those who are undergoing far greater hardships than we are,” said senior class president Taylor Roddy. “Bethlehem’s small businesses have always been a source of support for our community, so it’s an honor that we can give back when they need our help.”

With the two donations the senior class continues to demonstrate a unique understanding of the core values that drive the school district’s mission at BC. Earlier this month, the class issued a video appeal for people in the community to consider donating blood to the American Red Cross as a way to honor their graduating class. The May 27 blood drive, which will take place at the high school, is expected to be one of the most successful drives ever held at the school, with every time slot filled. 

“The district’s mission is built around four core values: academics, character, community and wellness,” said Superintendent Jody Monroe. “This class has consistently demonstrated that they have embraced all four, and most memorably in the way they give back to others.”

“I have tears in my eyes,” South End Children’s Cafe director Tracie Killar said in an email to senior class advisor Jessica Westervelt, a teacher at Bethlehem High School, when being notified of the funds headed to the Albany-based center. “What a beautiful and heart wrenching donation!”

The South End Children’s Cafe provides dinners to area children and families experiencing food insecurity. The center has provided thousands of meals-to-go during the pandemic and recently announced it had been running low on supplies.

The second donation made by the BCHS Class of 2020 will help local businesses that have been hard hit by the pandemic. The Small Business Hardship Fund is administered by the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce.

“I was surprised to learn of this donation and thrilled,” said Maureen McGuiness, president of the Chamber. “This gesture by the senior class shows their maturity, compassion, and sense of community.”

McGuiness said the Chamber has hosted student interns from BCHS on a regular basis. 

“We have always been impressed with their willingness to take on responsibility, their communication skills, and their ability to be team players,” said McGuinness. “These traits combined with the donation are an indication that the Class of 2020 is ready to make their mark on the world.”

The high school principal David Doemel said he continues to be proud of the example being set by the class of 2020 during a time of adversity.

“The class of 2020 continues to amaze me with their selfless acts and understanding of what is truly important,” said Principal Doemel. “They are models for us all and deserve to be celebrated for all they have done in their time at BCHS.”

Those interested in contributing to the Hardship Fund can contact Maureen McGuinness at 518-439-0512 or send a check to the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce 318 Delaware Avenue Delmar, NY 12054

To learn more about programs that support the South End Children’s Center, visit the center’s website: