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Taft Today

Taft Today

Carnations for Cancer


This past Valentine’s day, the Helping Hands club continued their annual tradition of selling flowers. This year the club bought and sold out 200 flowers. The proceeds of these flowers go to the Leukemia Research Foundation.

This year, the club prepared for the event by making posters and hanging them up all around the school. There was at least one poster on each floor advertising the flowers. The posters were decorated with Valentine’s day-themed drawings, as well as the necessary information about the flower sale.

Reservations happened during the school lunch periods on Feb. 8, 12, and 13. Club members went into lunch periods and asked people if they wanted to reserve a flower for Valentine’s Day. Helping hands also had a table set up in the lunchroom advertising their flower sale. 

The flowers were distributed in the lunchroom before school, and at the end of the day. It cost $2 to reserve flowers and $3 to buy flowers on the day of the sale, starting Feb. 8 and ending Feb. 14. Helping Hands bought 200 carnations to sell, and they completely sold out by the end of Valentine’s Day. 

The inspiration for this particular fundraiser came back when Taft’s principal, Mark Grishaber, was diagnosed with leukemia. Since then, the club has kept the fundraiser an annual Valentine’s Day event. 

Scott Plencner, the sponsor of the Helping Hands club, talked about what the rules of the club are, “A lot of the rules are secret, but they are supposed to do good for the community without letting people know who did it,” said Plencner.

The main goal of the Helping Hands club is to do service work in the community without disclosing their identity. They are Taft’s personal set of service ninjas, although their work isn’t restricted to Taft. They try to go all around the community during the school year and do acts of service for others.

The idea behind hiding their identity and the club as a whole actually comes from Mardi Gras. “The crew at Mardi Gras wear masks while they run the parades and everything, because what they are, are society’s workers and the whole idea is you have to do service for people and not try and get any glory,” said Plencner.

Club President, Rana Aref, has been a part of the club since her freshman year. 

“My freshmen year, I was looking for clubs to join, so I could find a sense of community. I tried a lot of different clubs, but this one was my favorite because I liked the purpose of the club,” said Aref.

Aref went on to share that, “Even though we do our work in secret, the Helping Hands club is not a secret club, anyone and everyone is welcome to join.”

Brooke Slota, club member, joined during her sophomore year, “I joined the club because I liked the idea of helping people. I also did something similar in middle school.” 

Slota went more into detail about the brainstorming process, “It’s a pretty fair system, a lot of the things we do like carnations for cancer are annual, but beside those, everyone shares their ideas, and we write them on the white board and then vote for the most realistic one.”

Maghnus Hannaway, Vice President, was a junior when he joined Helping Hands. Hannaway heard of the club through word of mouth and decided it would be beneficial, considering an IB student like himself needs volunteer hours.

Hannaway said, “When it comes to adding my own ideas, I tend to think about what I think will help the community the most. We also have a really diverse group of students that help bring in different perspectives.”

The Helping Hands club is a great addition to Taft’s community. They are a place to go to if there is ever a need for a service or a good deed. Hopefully they continue their Valentine’s Day flower sale for many more years to come, and possibly come up with more traditions just like this one to help the community. 

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About the Contributors
Janel Limardo, Reporter
Carmen Ramirez, Reporter