EDISON — For the past six weeks, Wardlaw-Hartridge students Jonathan Belfer of Scotch Plains and Noah Ganz of Westfield have been leading a school-wide fundraiser to support victims of multiple sclerosis. They’ve raised money through donations, T-shirt sales and elementary school students collecting funds in piggy banks and through a “Buck-a-book” fundraiser.
The Wardlaw-Hartridge community came together on April 15 to culminate the drive with a four-mile walk at Nomahegan Park in Cranford. A spirited group of 100 walkers, clad in matching orange T-shirts, participated in the walk. The school’s contingent included students, parents, faculty, friends and even a few dogs.
“When I cut the ribbon and looked behind me, I saw a sea of orange,” Belfer said. “It was an exhilarating experience. I’d never seen anything like it before.”
Belfer and Ganz helped the school community raise over $16,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“Every once in a while I get a really good surprise from our students and Sunday was one of those moments,” said Tanda Tucker of Bernardsville, who has multiple sclerosis. “As I crossed the street and entered the park all I could see was the sea of neon orange Wardlaw-Hartridge students, teachers, and parents. Because this cause is something I live with every day, it made me realize how honored and proud I am to be part of helping to shape students who clearly get the importance of ‘doing unto others.’ From the spare change collected in the Lower School to all the students walking, it truly was a great day for W-H and every member of our community should be proud that our students give up their free time in order to help make a difference.”
Upper School and Middle School students purchased orange T-shirts at school in March and April and made their commitment to join the walk. Upper School Head Rhona Eserner of Edison and several teachers joined the Sea of Orange.
“Walking on Sunday was a great experience. We lucked out with a beautiful day and it was great to see how many different faces – parents, grandparents, teachers, and all three divisions of students – showed up to support a great cause,” Skyla Choi of Fort Lee said.
“It just goes to show how the W-H community really is about family with so many of us supporting a cause that affects members of our community. I really feel as though we all were able to make a significant contribution to the National MS Society,” Lauren Levine of Fanwood added.
Belfer and Ganz worked hard as the coordinators of this six-week drive. They were rewarded with a successful fundraiser that provided another example of how the school community supports community service and volunteer service opportunities.
“Everyone from 5 years old to the teachers and the parents helped each other and helped us,” Ganz said. “I really like how the entire community rallied together for a great cause.”