School communities answer the challenge of Giving Day

Final results are in and it’s official: school communities rocked the recent Giving Day, elevating the Diocese of Charleston to No. 2 in the entire country for funds raised.

The national fundraising campaign provides schools with a 24-hour window — and a proven formula for success — to raise money to help their schools.

Last year, only a handful of schools in the diocese participated but their success was impressive and duly noted. At the time, Peggy Wertz, the now-retired principal of St. Mary Help of Christians School in Aiken, said it was the easiest fundraiser they had ever done.

This year, 24 schools came on board. Most of them followed the detailed protocol developed by the Catholic Schools Development group at the Diocese of Charleston. The end result was $92,625.

Only the Diocese of Little Rock, Ark., raised more with $158,000. Rounding out the top three was the Diocese of Wilmington with $70,000.

In our diocese, a majority of the schools raised over $1,000, with several of them breaking the $5,000 mark.

St. Mary Help of Christians once again combined Giving Day with a student-driven Fun Run that made a whopping $25,677 for their school.

Charleston Catholic, a small school of 187 kids on the Charleston peninsula, raised $10,252. Dozens of other schools were likewise blessed by strong family and community support.

“It was really neat to see some of the names of people giving. Not just current students but families of former students, grandparents even,” McKay said.

Their youth waved handmade posters at parents in the car line as a reminder of Giving Day, but mostly, McKay said, it was a simple but effective campaign of emails, bulletins, newsletters and social media.  

The same thing went for Prince of Peace in Taylors with about 150 students. They brought in $7,116 and Marianne Tully, principal, said she was overwhelmed by support from the community.

“It was just wonderful, it was such a great experience. I was just sitting there with tears of joy,” she said.    

Rounding out the top four was St. John in North Charleston, which may be the smallest school in the diocese but still earned $7,055 from Giving Day.

Karen Durand, principal, said they simply followed the plan, including testimonial videos, great photos of students, and hourly posts.

For the parents and others who gave, most expressed gratitude to the schools for all they’ve done for the children. One parent noted that at its heart, Giving Day is a cycle of support.  

Other participating schools were:

Bishop England High School on Daniel Island

Blessed Sacrament in Charleston

Cardinal Newman in Columbia

Charleston Catholic in Charleston

Christ Our King-Stella Maris in Mount Pleasant

Divine Redeemer in Hanahan

Holy Trinity in North Myrtle Beach

John Paul II in Ridgeland

Nativity on James Island

Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville

Prince of Peace in Taylors

St. Michael in Murrells Inlet

St. Andrew in Myrtle Beach

St. Anne & St. Jude in Sumter

St. Anne in Rock Hill

St. Anthony of Padua in Greenville

St. Elizabeth Anne Seton High School in Myrtle Beach

St. John in North Charleston

St. John Neumann in Columbia

St. Joseph in Anderson

St. Martin de Porres in Columbia

St. Mary Help of Christians in Aiken

St. Peter in Columbia

Summerville Catholic

Photo provided: Students at St. Mary Help of Christians School hula hoop at their Day of Giving Fun Run.