Middle School Students, Cheerleaders Lead Wardlaw-Hartridge School’s Japan Relief Effort

EDISON – In a special presentation during Middle School lunch on June 1, the students handed a check to Corinna Krauskopf, Development and Marketing Officer of the Tri-County Chapter of the American Red Cross located in Plainfield.

The members of the Middle School and Upper School cheerleading teams presented a check in the amount of $2,640 to support Japanese relief efforts after the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. Krauskopf thanked the students and said the funds will help provide blankets, food and shelter for the many victims of this tragedy who are in temporary housing. She reminded them the Red Cross responds to all types of disasters, close to home and all over the world and commended the students for understanding the importance of giving to those in need.


Nancy Duddy, middle school history teacher and student council advisor, described how individual students held fundraising drives, During Spring Break, Rida Aziz ’15 reached out to Middle School Head Ann Hergenrother and proposed a plan to begin a school wide relief effort to raise funds for Japan. Also, the Middle School Student Council held a weeklong “raffle basket” sale and solicited donations before the three school concerts this spring.

“I am so proud of our students,” Duddy said soon after the check presentation. “They do understand the importance of giving to those in need and the response from so many who attended the concerts and participated in the raffle sale was tremendous.”

The winners of the raffle baskets were drawn during Middle School lunch on May 20:

  • W-H Gear: Noah Fischer ’17
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Breakfast and Gift Cards: Marissa Pyne ’17
  • Movies with Gift Certificates and DVDs: Chris Shen ’19
  • Music with Karaoke Machine and CDs: Jonathan Trilleras ’16
  • Evening Out: Alex Garces ’16
  • Japanese Dinner: Brandon Bandy ’16
  • Games: Tucker Edwards (nephew of Tanda Tucker)

The Upper School cheerleaders also participated in the relief efforts. Upper School Cheerleading Coach and Middle School Art Teacher Tanda Tucker was impressed.

“One thing for certain about the students at W-H is how compassionate they are toward others,” Tucker said.

Over the spring holiday, the cheerleading team had planned to do a fundraiser to help defray the expense of traveling to camp this summer when Japan was struck by the tsunami.

“No sooner had I learned of the devastation than I received a text message from one of my captains, junior Skyla Choi, asking if it would be all right if we used half of what we would raise to help the people of Japan.”

When the team had counted up the monies raised they were not satisfied with the amount that would go to Japan. At no urging from their coach, the cheerleaders decided that helping people who had lost everything was more important then having it go toward their own expenses and decided to donate all the money they had raised during the spring break fundraiser.

“It is truly moments like this that I realize how much our school does for helping to develop the whole student, not just the academic or athletic side but the side that cares for and is concerned about others. I have a wonderful cheerleading squad and this situation made me even prouder than I already was of each and every one of them,” Tucker said.

The school also made a $1,500 check presentation to the Headmaster, Andrew Webster, in support of MircoDreams, a Micro Finance Organization called South Pacific Business Developments (SPBD) founded in 2000 in Samoa by a 1981 graduate of The Wardlaw-Hartridge School, Greg Casagrande.

SPBD is a lending institution, and SPBD’s mission is to improve the quality of life of people living in poverty in the poor island nations of the South Pacific. Their first market was the independent island nation of Samoa, in the middle of the South Pacific. SPBD’s philosophy of lending is based on a respect for each individual’s innate human ingenuity, drive and self-esteem. It is these qualities which make people credit worthy, not the collateral which traditional banks demand. By providing access to capital, SPBD allows women and their families to pursue their dreams and achieve their full potential.

The Middle School Student Council has supported SPBD for many years. Mr. Casagrande often visits the school and meets with the students to share the progress of the loans and the impact their support is truly making on the lives of the neediest people in the world.

GIVING BACK …Middle School students Rida Aziz of Scotch Plains and Nick D’Amore of Scotch Plains join Upper School cheerleader Skyla Choi of Fort Lee during the check presentation for the Japan Relief effort. Also pictured are Middle School teachers Ean Plotkin and Nancy Duddy and Red Cross representative Corinna Krauskopf. Photo by Bill Jenkins of Oldwick

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