School fundraiser solicits chuckles, aid for nonprofits

  • Waimea Country School student Atticus Smith wears his red nose in preparation of the school’s month-long Joke-Ha-Thon for Red Nose Day. (Courtesy photo/WCS)

  • Waimea Country School students in the koa fourth-fifth grade, multiage class introduce the Joke-Ha-Thon for Red Nose Day to the student body during the school’s weekly ohana meeting. Each student was given a red foam nose to get the jokes rolling. (Courtesy photo / WCS)

WAIMEA — Quick — tell a good joke!

That’s what Waimea Country School students are doing these days. The school’s character value for the month of May is hoomakeaka, or humor. The school is joining the Red Nose Day campaign to raise awareness and money to combat child poverty.

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Red Nose Day started in the United Kingdom in 1988, and came to the USA in 2015. The idea is to use humor to draw attention to issues in a kid-friendly way. Red noses are a great conversation starter!

Students tell jokes at an appropriate time of the day and if they can make their teachers laugh, the teachers donate to a fundraising jar. Families and friends can also participate if they wish by “buying” jokes from students or paying them for chores so they can make a donation.

The oldest students in the koa class voted to keep the money they raise here on the Big Island. Three local charities that benefit children were selected with proportional donations based on the students’ votes. Thirty-five percent will go to Annunciation Church Food Pantry, with whom the school already has a long-standing volunteer relationship; 15 percent will go to Big Island Giving Tree, to help provide school supplies to struggling working families; and 50 percent will go to Family Support Hawaii, which fights against child abuse and neglect on the Big Island.

When asked why the school decided to join the Red Nose Day campaign, teacher Laurel Matsuda said, “Part of our mission at WCS is to help students develop compassion. Kids love to tell jokes, and they love to help other kids. When I heard about Red Nose Day, it seemed the perfect opportunity to get our students involved in making a difference to others.”

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Head of School Amy Salling added, “Character education is a vital component of our learning program. Our school wide theme is pono, and we use monthly values to focus on specific elements of character that we work to foster.”

To find out more about Waimea Country School or to make a contribution to the Red Nose Day campaign, contact the school at 885-0067 or online at waimeacountryschool.org.

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