Santa Maria Kindergarten Class Raises Money for Japan

With many organizations throughout the world donating money to aid Japan in their time of need, it’s very unexpected that a Bronx kindergarten class would come up a fund-raiser of their own.

After Japan suffered a devastating tsunami and earthquake on Friday, March 11 that included a death toll of over 10,000 people, many countries began to put together fund-raisers and relief programs to help those who lost their homes and other personal belongings during the natural disasters.

Prior to the incident, the kindergarten class at Santa Maria School on 1510 Zerega Avenue was learning about Japanese culture and the students were devastated to learn of the tragedy that occurred to the country that they were so interested in learning about.

According to kindergarten teacher Patricia Sementa, the students were coming up with ideas on their own to try and raise money for Japan and decided to host a bake sale for the rest of the school, with all proceeds being donated to the American Red Cross to help the affected country.

Letters were sent out to other students’ homes to notify them of the event and the kindergarten class hosted the bake sale on Friday, March 25 with cookies, donuts, cupcakes and more, all donated and baked by parents of the class, as well as the Santa Maria faculty members.

“We always teach our students about service, especially now that we have been praying for those in Japan,” said school principal Sr. Diane Mastroianni. “I am so proud of the kindergarten class for their efforts and being able to come up with this idea on their own. It’s definitely a great way to rise to the occasion and really help those in need.”

According to Mastroianni, many parents and guardians even sent checks to Santa Maria to put towards the fund-raiser in addition to the sale of the baked goods.

During the lunch periods, the kindergarten class gathered in the school cafeteria to sell the treats to the rest of the students of the school and throughout the sale, the students took turns in writing cards to other students in Japan that will be sent along with the money that was raised.

“It’s really amazing that the kids were able to come up with this idea by themselves,” said teacher Patricia Sementa. “They came in on that Monday after Japan was hit with the disaster and all seemed to have known what happened there. They were all so upset and immediately tried to come up with ways to help their friends overseas.”

The school predicted to raise about $500 and have any leftover treats sold during their teen night event that evening, however, everything was sold by the end of the lunch periods, and the Santa Maria kindergarten class was able to raise $900 to aid Japan.

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