Andrew Ernest, a senior at Oswego East High School in Oswego, Ill., presented roughly $10,000 for the Newtown Memorial Fund to Newtown representatives on Monday, February 18.
The money was raised over one month through efforts made at his high school, according to Andrew, who said he felt a need to deliver the donation in person. He traveled to the area on Sunday, February 17, with his mother, Amy, and the two met with three town representatives at Newtown Municipal Center the following morning. Andrew presented his check to First Selectman Pat Llodra, John Reed, a Newtown Memorial Fund board member, and Bob Geckle, a member of the Newtown Parks & Recreation Memorial Gifts Ad Hoc Subcommittee.
Andrew said the events of 12/14 in Sandy Hook impacted him, as his mother runs a daycare. He first approached his physical education teacher, Patrick Molinari, to ask whether a fund could be started to donate to Sandy Hook. His teacher told him to speak to the school’s assistant principal, and Andrew was told as long as he found a sponsor, he could hold a fundraising effort at the school.
The fundraising effort was kicked off at a home basketball game, Andrew said on Monday. The gymnasium was decorated with green balloons and lights for Sandy Hook Night. The basketball players also wore green socks for the occasion.
Mrs Ernest said a collection box was set up at the entrance to the gymnasium, and Andrew said a collection box was also passed through the crowd. Advertisements were also placed in the local media outlets announcing the fundraising effort, according to Mrs Ernest.